, 22 July, 2020 / 9:30 PM
The leadership of Catholic Laity in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has lauded President Félix Tshisekedi for not endorsing Ronsard Malonda as the head of the country’s Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) despite his endorsement by the law makers of the Central African nation
“The Lay Coordination Committee (LCC) has welcomed the President of the Republic's decision not to approve the candidate endorsed as head of CENI. This is a step in the right direction,” the leadership of LCC has been quoted as saying.
On July 19, members of LCC organized a peaceful march to protest the National Assembly’s endorsement of Mr. Malonda as the Chairman of CENI.
Speaking after the July 19 protest march, officials of LCC said, "Our main request today is to clearly express refusal and indignation to have the so-called 'new animators' of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) imposed, chosen from among those who bear the heavy responsibility for the failure of the fake elections of 2018".
Following President Tshisekedi’s decision to go against the country’s legislators, LCC members have encouraged “the head of State to continue listening to the legitimate aspirations of the people and, above all, to persevere in the same direction for all the other needs that justified our mobilization, as well as that of the other social and political forces of the nation.”
In a majority vote on July 2, DRC’s lawmakers decided to have Mr. Malonda at the helm of CENI, a decision that was contested by Religious leaders and opposition parties, according to a report.
Pro-democracy activists have accused Mr. Malonda of playing a role in manipulating elections in favor of former President Joseph Kabila; he is also blamed for meddling in the 2018 poll that saw President Tshisekedi defeat Martin Fayulu.
Last month, Catholic Bishops in the country expressed reservations about having in place a person at the helm of CENI before carrying out electoral reforms.
“The most important thing is that logically, what is needed first are reforms, particularly, the reform of the electoral law and CENI. Because we can have the best candidate, but if it is with the same law, the same configuration, we will not have taken a big step,” the Prelates in DRC explained in their collective statement issued June 23.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa