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    DR Congo-Politics

    DRC: Catholic church ups ante on sit-tight Kabila

    APA - Kinshasa (DR Congo)

    The Catholic Church in the Democratic Republic of Congo is upping the ante against President Joseph Kabila for continuing to stay put despite the expiry in December 2016 of his second term.

    In a statement on Monday the church says it is mobilizing the public for a huge rally to remember those killed in last month's protest aimed at forcing him to organize elections and relinquish power to the eventual victor.

    The Catholic church in Kinshasa is spearheading what it hopes would be a huge rally on March 16 at ‘Notre Dame du Congo’ Cathedral as a focal point for the struggle against Kabila's prolonged presidency.

    According to the new constitution adopted in 2006, Kabila's presidency was supposed to expire on December 20, 2016, ten years after he was elected for his first five-year term in office.

    The electoral authority in DRC had announced in September 2016 that elections would not be held until early 2018. 

    Since then talks have focused on building a census over the handling of the elections which the constitution disqualifies Kabila from contesting.

    “We have our heroes for democracy. They have a name, a face, an age. They are dead, they are alive. They will continue to demand a rigorous and active citizen participation to avoid falling back into a new dictatorship that will cost human lives,” a statement by the church said ahead of the mass mobilization against him.

    The church is referring to people who died on February 25 during a mass demonstration, including young Rossy Kadima who was killed in Lemba district in Kinshasa.

    The church also urged the public to continue with their civil disobedience by ringing bells in parishes across the country at 9pm every Thursday, with others encouraged to use whistles, car horns and saucepans.

    In addition to their campaign of non-violence, the church also undertook to launch “diplomatic overtures” targeting DRC’s partners through the Congolese Diaspora, to ratchet up pressure on Kabila.

    At the end of three huge marches between December 31, 2017 and February 25, 2018, the church claimed a series of “victories” from its civil disobedience aimed at unmasking “a dictatorship hiding behind democracy.”

    The church also claimed it has conquered its own fear, transferring it to “our political and military leaders, the police and other security operatives.”

    Another victory it is claiming is the moral authority it commands from its congregations, a trait admired by the rest of the world.

    The decision to bring further pressure to bear on the government by the church comes after Bishop Fridolin Ambongo was inducted in his position as Coadjutor Archbishop of Kinshasa.

    Bishop Ambongo replaces the retired Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo as head of the Catholic church in Kinshasa.


    MYW/te/fss/as/APA

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