Amid tense election, DRC bishops concerned about voting irregularities
FREE Catholic Classes
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.
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."
Copyright 2019 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK
Hundreds of thousands of protestors in Hong Kong are continuing to demonstrate against the government's plans to allow extraditions to ... continue reading
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
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
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
Police in India are investigating a claim that Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay and two auxiliary bishops covered up an accusation of ... continue reading
by Catholic Online
- Mom, target of doxing state rep, calls for Sims' censure
- Prayer Requests Live for Tuesday, June 18th, 2019 HD Video
- Rosica resigns from Salt and Light after plagiarism scandal
- Daily Reading for Thursday, June 20th, 2019 HD Video
- Vatican quashes rumors of Benedict XVI stroke
- Daily Readings for Wednesday, June 19, 2019
- St. Romuald: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, June 19, 2019
- Prayer Requests Live for Monday, June 17th, 2019 HD
- Daily Reading for Wednesday, June 19th, 2019 HD
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, June 18th, 2019 HD
- Daily Reading for Monday, June 17th, 2019 HD
Learn about Catholic world
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
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on catholic.org
Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel
Learn the Catholic way
Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all
K-12 & Adult Education Classes
Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education
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.