DRC: Political Uncertainty After Bishops Withdraw From Peace Talks

Political unrest and uncertainty about the future have grown in the Democratic Republic of Congo, following the Catholic bishops’ withdrawal from mediation talks aimed to resolve national political tensions.

“We think that there’s no longer anything to do,” Msgr. Donatien Nshole, secretary general of the Congolese bishops’ conference, told Reuters on Tuesday. “We have given all our time and all our energy.”

The bishops’ conference helped negotiate a Dec. 31 agreement that aimed to avoid political crisis through securing a 2017 election that would choose the successor of Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila.

The agreement brought the country back from the brink of renewed civil war.

After the bishops’ latest announcement, the president’s opposition announced a nationwide protest for April 10. The largest party in the opposition coalition, UDPS, called on its supporters to hold “a big, peaceful march” and to “resist the dictatorship taking root.”

President Kabila’s office announced on television that talks would continue, saying “the current impasse must in no way signify a definitive rupture of the dialogue.”

Sporadic unrest and protests also broke out after the bishops’ announcement. Police fired shots and tear gas to dissuade some protesters.

Political unrest in Congo under President Kabila has been increasing since January 2015, after a bill proposed that the president could remain in power while a national census was conducted, potentially delaying presidential and parliamentary elections.

Protesters who saw the bill as a power grab by President Kabila took to the streets in what sometimes turned into deadly clashes with the country’s security forces.

In January 2017, the bishops had warned that the Dec. 31 agreement was at risk of unraveling unless political leaders worked quickly to compromise and implement it.

In February, Cardinal Monsengwo Pasinya of Kinshasa, the country’s capital, reported an arson attack on a seminary and a gang attack on a church that overturned a tabernacle, ransacked the altar, smashed some pews, and tried to set fire to the church. The cardinal told the pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need he thought the Church was being targeted deliberately “in order to sabotage her mission of peace and reconciliation.”

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The Catholic News Agency (CNA) has been, since 2004, one of the fastest growing Catholic news providers to the English speaking world. The Catholic News Agency takes much of its mission from its sister agency, ACI Prensa, which was founded in Lima, Peru, in 1980 by Fr. Adalbert Marie Mohm (†1986).

2 thoughts on “DRC: Political Uncertainty After Bishops Withdraw From Peace Talks

  • March 30, 2017 at 7:11 am
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    This impending carnage would be avoided if the Catholic Church wasn’t so corrupt. Dr. Etienne Tshisekedi left a name with the Catholic Church – the purpose was for that named-person to be the Prime Minister. That named individual is Dr. Etienne Tshisekedi ‘s most trusted advisor over the last 20 years – Mr. Valentin Mubake. Meanwhile, Dr. Tshisekedi died and the Catholic Church must have been paid millions of dollars by Mr. Katumbi not to release that name so that Mr. Kabila can confirm Mr. Mubake as the new prime minister, does honoring the last wishes of Dr. Tshisekedi. Problem is that 80% of the UDPS supports Mr. Mubake, and there is no opposition with the UDPS who has the support of 65% of the population.

    But Mr. Mubake is not corruptible and the church is not interested in supporting someone they can gain nothing from. The whole impasse they speak about is because Felix Tshisekedi, who his own father said publicly he would not recommend for the post of PM because he is not strong enough and intellectually capable of doing that job, had self-proclaimed the leader of the opposition when he is not and does not have the support of the people. But the billionaire Moise Katumbi has bankrolled Felix and everyone who is for sale (I.e., the Catholic Church), and the church refuses to put an end to the impasse by having the moral courage to name Mubake as the last dying wish if Dr. Tshisekedi. Why? Because Katumbi has spent many hundreds of millions of dollars with Felix, Lumbi, the Catholic Church, and now he expects to collect on his investment. He wants to be the next president so that nothing changes in the Congo….. problem: Katumbi cannot be fairly elected because he will get precisely 142 votes out if 40 million who will be registered to vote. Thus we replace the Kabila dictatorship with a Katumbi dictatorship. I prefer the enemy I know than the enemy I don’t know, and believe me, I despise Kabila. But the church will be responsible for any blood that flows after 1 February 2017, the date Dr. Etienne Tshisekedi died!!!!!!!

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  • March 30, 2017 at 12:52 pm
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    Congo under President Kabila must acknowledge that, Peace and reconciliation is the Catholic Church mission in the world.
    Congo under President Kabila targeted deliberately in order to sabotaging the image of the Catholic Church, by violence while the Catholic Church is a member of the composition of the organs of dialogue for peace in DR Congo, and consider the Catholic Church as a force that has come to oppose its maintenance in power by arms.
    The Catholic Church since December 20, 2016 had done is preacher of peace, and now the preaching is over.
    May the Lord be with Congo under President Kabila , and with your Spirit.
    Going into the Peace of Christ, we return to the Eternal
    May the peace of the Lord accompany Congo under President Kabila , the father, the son, and the Holy Spirit.
    Amen.

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