Saturday, December 10, 2016

Bishops work to bolster fragile peace in Democratic Republic of Congo

The Catholic bishops of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are acting as mediators to ward off a national crisis created by President Joseph Kabila’s refusal to relinquish his authority.

Kabila is approaching the end of his second presidential term, and the DRC constitution does not allow for a third. 

But Kabila has persuaded some opposition leaders to support an agreement that would keep him in office for more than year beyond his prescribed term. 

Other opposition leaders have rejected that deal, insisting that Kabila must step down by December 19.

Kabila’s foes now argue that he is seizing power illegally, while his supporters charge that the critics are undermining the government. 

As tensions rise, a Reuters report on the crisis notes that the Catholic Church is “one of the few institutions to emerge from decades of turmoil with its credibility intact.”

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