Elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo – Let us Commit Ourselves to Support and Pray for Them.
On July 30, the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo will cast ballots for a new president and national parliament (Congress), the first time that the Congolese people will participate in democratic elections in over 45 years.
The Franciscan family, including nearly 200 friars of the province of St. Benoit l’Africain, which is supported by Sacred Heart Province in the U.S., has been deeply involved in voter education and efforts to promote peace and reconciliation.
Certain parts of the country, particularly the northeastern, eastern and southern regions, continue to experience much violence as armed militias, backed by Rwandan, Ugandan and Congolese political and military leaders and rogue players bent on pillaging the country’s rich resources, commit grave atrocities against innocent people.
We call upon the Franciscan family in the United States, their friends and associates to pray for the people of the Congo, for their well being and for free, transparent and just elections. We also pray that those elected to serve the people of the Congo will place the interests of the nation and the common good before personal interests.
The elections represent the first step on a long and arduous road to a more free and prosperous future.
May God bless the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and may we commit to supporting them in the coming months and years.
Peace to you.
Michael Perry, OFM, is the advocacy consultant for Africa at Franciscans International in New York. He resides at our friary on 82nd Street in New York City. He adds, “The Catholic bishops of the Democratic Republic of Congo are considering calling for a boycott of the elections if the waring parties interfere with the electoral process.”