Roman Catholic Church is taking the political high ground in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Chika Mori and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
It is known that several people were killed in the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after demonstrations were held against President Joseph Kabila. The severity of the situation is witnessed by tensions between the upper echelons of the Roman Catholic Church and the Kabila administration. Therefore, the president of the DRC fully understands that pressure is building against him.
Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo is usually an individual who avoids the mass media. Yet, the cardinal condemned security forces for killing innocents in Kinshasa at the weekend. This will further lead to tensions between the Kabila administration and the Roman Catholic Church
Reuters reports, “The head of the Roman Catholic Church in Congo on Tuesday condemned a crackdown on protests against President Joseph Kabila as “barbarism”, escalating a confrontation between the government and one of the country’s most powerful institutions.”
Kabila is hoping that the Catholic Church pulls back from confrontation. However, the omens point in the direction of further tensions. Hence, with tensions running high in parts of this nation already, it could well be that the Roman Catholic pulpit increasingly condemns the government of Kabila.
The Guardian reports, “Catholic churches and activists had called for peaceful demonstrations after Sunday mass, one year after the Catholic church oversaw the signing of an accord that set a new election date to ease tensions in the mineral-rich country.”
Monsengwo, on hearing about deaths resulting from the actions of the security forces, said strongly, “We can only denounce, condemn and stigmatize the actions of the supposedly valiant men in uniform, which are, unfortunately, nothing more, nothing less than barbarism.”
Kabila knows that the Roman Catholic pulpit is a powerful institution to take on. Hence, the pressure will be building on Kabila to reach out to a faith that is adhered to by approximately 40 percent of the population. If Kabila takes a more confrontational approach then more blood will flow – sadly, an all too familiar state of affairs in the DRC.
The Daily Telegraph reports, “Critics accuse Mr Kabila of postponing elections to maintain his grip on power, causing tensions to increase and provoking violence and deadly street demonstrations across the country since the end of 2016.”
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