2016-12-30 12:26:00

DRC: Bishops remain confident for political agreement

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s Catholic Bishops have told media in Kinshasa that they are confident an accord between President Joseph Kabila and the opposition will be signed. 

If the agreement is signed, sources in Kinshasa told Aljeezera, it would involve President Joseph Kabila remaining in office until the end of next year, 2017. As it is, it would appear for now, that the political parties and Kabila’s government are bogged down on issues of power-sharing during the transition period. 

At the heart of the political crisis is President Kabila’ second and final presidential term of office which has expired. Congo's constitutional court approved a request by the electoral commission to postpone elections till 2018. 

President Kabila says the government needs more time to overcome the massive logistic and financial challenges to holding elections.  The opposition thinks Kabila is simply trying to cling to power beyond his constitutional mandate. They have called on demonstrations in which several protestors have died. 

The Catholic Bishops of the Democratic Republic are mediating the talks in an attempt at preventing the country plunging itself into a civil war. 
Pope Francis has in recent weeks made three appeals on the situation in Congo. The Holy Father recently met, in private, Archbishop Marcel Utembi Tapa of Kisangani who is the President of the Congolese Bishops’ Conference. Utembi Tapa was accompanied to that meeting by Bishop Fridolin Ambongo Besungu, the Bishop of Mbandaka-Bikoro. 

After the meeting, Pope Francis on 21 December, re-echoed his plea for peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo the urging the people of Congo to “be (artisans) authors of reconciliation and peace.”

(Email: engafrica@vatiradio.va)

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