Skip to content

Amid tense election, DRC bishops concerned about voting irregularities

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes

1/3/2019 (5 months ago)
Catholic Online (

The Catholic Bishops' Conference in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is drawing attention to voting problems that could call into question the outcome of a presidential election that has already been delayed two years.


Catholic Online (
1/3/2019 (5 months ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: Amid tense election, DRC bishops, voting irregularities

Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, (CNA/EWTN News) - In a Dec. 31 statement, the bishops' conference voiced concern about voting irregularities, including registered voters who were turned away from polling stations because their names were not on voting lists and election observers being expelled from polling stations by police officers.

The DRC bishops' conference was among the organizations that sent election observers to polling locations around the country, commissioning more than 40,000 observers to report on the election process.

Conference officials also noted that an estimated 1 million people were unable to vote due to a deadly Ebola outbreak in some regions of the nation, with voting in some affected cities delayed until March, well after the new president is scheduled to take office.

Other election observers also reported problems including voting machine malfunctions, polling stations opening late, locations being changed on short notice, and an inability to cast votes privately, according to the BBC.

Nearly two dozen candidates are running in an election to determine the successor to President Joseph Kabila, who has spent the last 17 years in power. While the nation's term limits required the president to leave office in 2016, he refused to step down.

The bishops in the country played a key role in mediating an agreement between the country's ruling political coalition and opposition leaders, culminating in a Dec. 31, 2016 agreement that allowed Kabila to remain in office beyond his mandate but said he must step down after an election in 2018.

Kabila is backing his party's candidate, former interior minister Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary. Among the main opposing candidates are Martin Fayulu, a former oil executive, and Felix Tshisekedi, son of a prominent opposition party leader.

Tensions in the country remain high as the election unfolds. The Democratic Republic of the Congo has been plagued by political corruption, instability, and violence throughout its history and has never seen a peaceful transition of power. In the lead-up to the election, dozens of people were killed protesting Kabila's refusal to give up power and allow elections at the end of two terms.

Catholics in the capital of Kinshasa joined with Protestants earlier in the week to pray for the country at ecumenical services attended by some presidential candidates, Vatican News reported.

The bishops' conference was planning to release a preliminary observation report early this week, but delayed the report's release when internet connections and text message services were shut down across the country on Dec. 30. According to Vatican News, the DRC bishops hope to release their preliminary election report on Jan. 3.

The nation's Independent National Electoral Commission said results of the election are expected by Jan. 6.

On Sunday, Pope Francis prayed during his weekly Angelus for people suffering in the Democratic Republic of the Congo because of violence and Ebola as polls opened.

"I hope everyone is committed to maintaining a peaceful climate that allows a regular and peaceful conduct of the elections, he said."


More Asia Pacific

Christian leaders call for dialogue, end to violence in Hong Kong Watch

Image of

Hundreds of thousands of protestors in Hong Kong are continuing to demonstrate against the government's plans to allow extraditions to ... continue reading

Hong Kong extradition bill could further endanger Christians, advocates say Watch

Image of

Though a proposed change to extradition laws in Hong Kong is on hold for now, Christian leaders and advocacy groups are continuing to speak ... continue reading

Pro-life leader: All-time high abortion rate in UK shows society has failed women, children Watch

Image of

More than 200,000 UK women received an abortion in 2018, setting an all-time high rate of abortion in England and Wales. London, England, ... continue reading

Caritas head applauds Philippines new anti-poverty measure Watch

Image of

A new law in the Philippines to support those living in poverty has won the praise of Caritas Manila, a Catholic aid agency in the country. ... continue reading

Indian police investigate claim against Cardinal Gracias of failure to report abuse Watch

Image of

Police in India are investigating a claim that Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay and two auxiliary bishops covered up an accusation of ... continue reading

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Deacon Keith Fournier Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Help Now >

Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.

Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.