Congolese President Joseph Kabila expressed support for Catholic bishops’ efforts to mediate a constitutional crisis after he extended his term in office.
On 5th December, Kabila met with the Archbishop of Kisangani, Marcel Utembi Tapa, who is the bishops’ conference president, and the Bishop of Bokungu-Ikela, Fridolin Ambongo Besungu, who is the conference vice president. Kabila reiterated his respect for the constitution, urged calm among all groups and told the bishops to be sure to have authenticated working documents from all political and social parties involved in any negotiations.
In a statement on 2nd December, the bishops had warned of chaos if government and opposition leaders fail to agree to a timeline for elections, and they reiterated their commitment to help arrange a compromise.
‘Despite all divergences, we believe a political compromise is still possible if the main parties get involved and prove their goodwill around the table,’ the bishops’ conference said.
‘The hour is truly grave – and this is why, true to our prophetic mission and, summoning the Congolese people and international community as witnesses, we appeal for responsibility to prevent our country sinking into an uncontrollable situation.’
Picture: Congolese President Joseph Kabila speaks during an event in late April at UN headquarters in New York. Catholic bishops in Congo have warned of chaos if government and opposition leaders fail to agree to a timeline for elections and reiterated their commitment to help arrange a compromise. (CNS photo/Andrew Gombert, Reuters).