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FILE PHOTO: Democratic Republic of Congo's former President Joseph Kabila and his successor President  Felix Tshisekedi Democratic Republic of Congo's former President Joseph Kabila and his successor President Felix Tshisekedi  

Congo Bishops welcome formation of new government

The Congolese Bishops' Conference welcomes the formation of a new coalition government following controversial December elections and says it is ready to support the new administration if it will work "to improve the living conditions of the Congolese people".

In a statement the National Bishops' Conference of Congo (CENCO) expressed the hope that the new government would serve the Congolese people. 

Congo's prime minister Illunga Illunkamba  announced a new coalition government on Monday.  It came eight months after Félix Tshisekedi won a hard fought presidential election.

Around two thirds of cabinet posts went to allies of former president Joseph Kabila.

Many of those chosen to run ministerial offices are new to government.

Of the 65 ministers nominated 42 were from Kabila's coalition and 23 were from Tshisekedi's.

Speaking on behalf of the Bishop’s conference its General Secretary, Father Donatien N'shole, said "the Bishops of CENCO were committed to supporting the government if it will work "to improve the living conditions of the Congolese people.”

He also expressed the hope that after such a long wait the country would be “compensated by the quality of the members in government."

In their message published at the end of their 56th Plenary Assembly in June, the Bishops noted that despite the election controversy “people talk about a real break with the old system of government." They added, “it is in this perspective that the first acts of the new President of the Republic should be greeted, including the opening of political and media space, the release of political prisoners, the return of political exiles to the country.”

But the Bishops at that time also drew attention to ongoing corruption and pointed to “thousands of people, including an impressive number of children, living in serious food insecurity, in a fertile Country, rich in abundant natural resources”.

The Bishops conference deployed the largest electoral observation mission in December 2018 to monitor the conduct of the elections. It had been critical of the final results. However, since then, relations between the bishops and the new leaders have improved.

27 August 2019, 14:05