Congo’s Catholic Church Questions Government’s Election Preparations

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Democratic Republic of Congo’s government is not on track with preparations for elections, the National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO) said on Friday ahead of presidential and parliamentary polls later this year.

The country’s Catholic church has a long history of promoting democracy in the vast African country where organising elections has been complicated by financial and logistical problems, and where disputes over vote tampering have frequently caused widespread unrest.

The election commission, CENI, has made insufficient progress creating a tripartite consultation framework between the majority, the opposition and civil society, and not invited international observers to ensure fair elections, CENCO said.

“CENI’s refusal to respond favourably to these two pertinent requests is proof enough that the electoral process is off to a bad start,” the church said in a statement.

The opposition candidate Martin Fayulu had mirrored these concerns, and said the voter registration process took place in total opacity, which was according to him “a proof of the planning and execution of fraud”.

The election commission did not respond to the comments and told Reuters that it will address the electorate on Sunday.

The Catholic church is currently gearing up to monitor elections scheduled for December in which President Felix Tshisekedi will seek a second term in office.

Source: Reuters