Kinshasa — There are positive signs of strengthening national unity, but alongside these there are others that threaten the cohesion of the Country, say the Bishops in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in the message published at the end of the 58th Plenary Assembly of CENCO (National Episcopal Conference of Congo).
The succession to the highest levels of the State that took place with the election of President Félix Tshisekedi marked a turning point that was greeted as follows by the Bishops: "We appreciated the first gestures of the President of the Republic, in particular the relaxation of the political climate and the greater freedom of expression in the media, the release of political and opinion prisoners, the return of political exiles to the country, the implementation of free basic education, and now the proximity to our brothers and sisters affected by the eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano" (see Fides, 2/6/2021).
"These gestures strengthen the unity of Congo and national cohesion", continues the message sent to Fides. "However, we note that this unity is increasingly threatened by negative values such as nepotism, tribalism, regionalism, patronage, exclusion of political opponents, practices and speeches that weaken social bonds. This state of affairs shatters the common dream and undermines national cohesion on several levels". Among the negative values that afflict the DRC, the Bishops underline the huge gap between a majority who struggle to live decently and a minority of people who have accumulated ever greater wealth. "The majority of the population continues to face extreme poverty. Strangely, there is still a handful of compatriots who get rich scandalously and for no reason. Some wonder if this is not the result of corruption and the misappropriation of public funds for personal gain. This situation also has a negative impact on national cohesion as it further widens the gap between rich and poor". Widespread corruption at all levels but particularly felt in the judiciary to the point that the message states that "for many of our compatriots, the judiciary is seen as a space to settle accounts and forgive injustices. Corruption, appears to be the primary way to win a case. Furthermore, the law gives way to patronage, regionalism, tribalism and nepotism. National cohesion is thus undermined, particularly when justice is used to remove political competitors".
In their final recommendations, the Bishops address, among others, the population "to support every good initiative of our Government, regardless of their own political tendencies; continue to tackle the coronavirus pandemic by respecting containment measures and having us vaccinated to protect ourselves and others; remain vigilant in view of the elections in 2023". Finally, on June 30, the feast of national independence, a day of prayer for national unity will be held.