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Church calls for fresh dialogue in DRC, says polls should be held in 2017

Church calls for fresh dialogue in DRC, says polls should be held in 2017

Democratic Republic Of Congo

The Catholic Church in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), has finally spoken on political situation in the country condemning the signing of an agreement by an opposition faction and government.

The last political move of the church – which is a strong political force in the DRC – was their withdrawal from the African Union (AU) led national dialogue, after deadly clashes between opposition protesters and security forces in the capital Kinshasa on September 19 and 20.

The National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO) said it had opted out of the dialogue at the time, in order to “mourn” those who lost their lives in the protests.

In its latest statement released on Friday, they called for new negotiations which will include leading opposition groups united under the banner of the ‘‘Rally,’‘ led by Etienne Tshisekedi.
CENCO is of the view that fresh talks will help political stakeholders to reach a broader consensus going forward.

The Church have further expressed fears that violence could erupt because of the many differences between factions on the Congolese political scene.

On the subject of postponement of the presidential polls till April 2018, CENCO proposed that per the new negotiations they were calling for, the next president of the DRC should be known latest by 2017.

Throughout the transition, the government shall ensure the organization of elections, respect for freedoms, improving the living conditions of populations and restore the state’s authority throughout the territory.

They reiterated their stands that whatever the consensus reached by the new dialogue team, the incumbent president should not be eligible to stand in the next elections whenever they are due to be held.

In early September, the clergy had considered leaving the dialogue if it turned into negotiations for a “disguised mandate” in favor of President Joseph Kabila.

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