Conflicts after Congo elections

Conflicts after Congo elections

The archbishop of Kinshasa, Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo, says the recent national election results for the Democratic Republic of Congo do not correspond either to truth or to justice.

In a statement, the cardinal said that the elections, won by incumbent president Joseph Kabila, lacked credibility. Out of the field of 10 candidates Kabila obtained 49% of the vote, held Nov. 28.

Cardinal Monsengwo drew attention to contradictory reports about the number of votes obtained by the runner-up, Etienne Tshisekedi, who finished with 32% of the vote.

He urged the candidates to take their case to the Supreme Court and asked them to refrain from resorting to violence, noting that 18 deaths during the election campaign were already enough.

The Church, he said, has a moral obligation to help ensure there is justice and that the truth about the elections is made clear.

The Supreme Court subsequently confirmed the election results, not heeding the protests of the other candidates — a decision criticized by both Belgium and France.

Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reyndeers said he would not be going to Kabila’s investiture ceremony and regretted the decision of the Supreme Court, according to a report published Dec. 15 by the news agency AFP. The article noted that prior to the election Kabila had appointed new members to the Supreme Court, expanding it from seven to 27 members.

AFP also said that a statement from France’s foreign ministry described the vote as being seriously flawed.

According to a Dec. 16 report by Reuters, both the European Union and the United States have also said the vote was flawed.

Kabila was installed as president in 2001 when his father Laurent was assassinated in the midst of a civil war in the country. He won a 2006 election that was also disputed.

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, DEC. 19, 2011 (Zenit.org)