Catholic Church Encourages Citizens to Vote in DRC

On Sunday, during church service, Catholic Priest Father Victor Ntambwe encouraged the congregation of St. Charles Lwanga church to register and vote in the upcoming Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) election.

Catholic Church Encourages Citizens to Vote in DRC
Image credit: Reuters

Facts

  • On Sunday, during church service, Catholic Priest Father Victor Ntambwe encouraged the congregation of St. Charles Lwanga church to register and vote in the upcoming Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) election. The DRC's catholic church network has for years promoted democratic elections and encouraged citizens to vote.
  • In Nov. 2022, the Independent National Electoral Commission announced that the country would hold presidential and parliamentary elections on Dec. 20, 2023. The DRC faces several challenges to holding a secure and safe election including the transport of election materials, civil unrest, and health concerns with both Ebola and COVID.
  • Father Ntambwe said, "if we do not register to vote, we will have the authorities we deserve, but if we enlist and vote, we can hold them to account." The Catholic church is preparing to monitor the election just as it did in 2018. Father Ntambwe said, "the church has a duty to denounce what is wrong with society."
  • The Archbishop of Kinshasa, Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo Besungu has also spoken out about the upcoming election. When he registered to vote in Dec. 2022 he said, "elections have always been a source of hope for the Congolese population for a real change in quality in the management of the country."
  • The Cardinal has urged the citizens to remain hopeful and to plan for the future. He expressed hope that the candidates will have positive and responsible plans for the country that has been in distress for several decades.
  • The Catholic church played a significant role in warning the UN Security Council of election concerns following the 2018 vote. The DRC bishops provided evidence that the official results did not match data from the church's monitoring; while they did not announce who they believed won the election they did cast doubt that current President Felix Tshisekdi had not secured the majority of votes based on their data.

Sources: Reuters, Al Jazeera, Vatican, Rvasia, and Catholic News.

Narratives

  • Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by Africa Report. The current state of the DRC and the suffering of the Congolese people lies with President Tshisekedi. Even with the challenges the nation faces, the country is not on its knees as it is often portrayed by the media. It will take time, but the new government will need to assess its successes and failures year by year to course correct any wrongs and snuff out any perceived corruption.
  • Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by UN News. When President Tshisekedi assumed the presidency of the African Union he seized an opportunity to show the world his commitment to a better DRC and a better Africa. The 2023 election is an opportunity to provide democracy and stabilization to the Congolese people. There will be challenges but with the help of the international community, the government and the people of the DRC can secure an election free from violence and corruption and chart a path to a better future.