DRC: Catholic Church Mediates Again

The National Episcopal Conference of Congo is mediating between authorities and opposition on political consensus.


Catholic Bishops in the Democratic Republic of Congo acting under the banner of the National Episcopal Conference of Congo on Monday, October 31, 2016 had a consultation meeting with many leaders of the opposition who had hitherto rejected the political agreement  which states that  presidential election will hold on April 2018.

RFI reports that President Joseph Kabila has given the green light for the Episcopal Conference to mediate in the political deadlock and bring opposing views together aimed at reaching a consensus. In the political dialogue mediated by the African Union (AU) official Edem Kodjo a handful of opposition officials agreed on electoral calendar with the authorities and the maintenance of President Kabila in power till the presidential election in April 2018.

The bishops reportedly in their meeting with opposition leaders insisted on discretion, thereby prohibiting public declarations that shatter the new mediation efforts. They also reported asked opposition parties grouped under the coalition Front for the Respect of the Constitution to put in writing their divergent points with the national dialogue.

Reports say the bishops expressed concerns over the teething divergences between the participants in the dialogue and others, and fears that the differences could lead to a new wave of violence in the country.  The bishops while embarking on the new round of mediation, put as condition that the presidential election hold in 2017 and reaffirmed the idea that the term of the outgoing president has to be limited.

Despite the fact that President Kabila gave his green light for the new round of mediation, he remains steadfast on the respect of the political agreement reached last October. RFI cites one of his close aides as saying that the Head of State remains within his role as father of the nation by giving the go ahead for the bishops to engage in the mediation but that does not mean that he wishes to have  a new dialogue. According to the official, President Kabila wants discussions to be based only on the earlier reached political agreement. Reports say leaders of some opposition parties that participated in the dialogue have called on the bishops to remain in church .





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