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Bishop in DR Congo Cautions Regional Politicians against “sterile quarrels and debates”

Bishop Donatien Bafuidinsoni of DR Congo's Inongo Diocese/ Credit: Courtesy Photo

The Bishop of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) Inongo Diocese has cautioned politicians in the Province of Mai-Ndombe that is within his episcopal see against the tendency to engage in “sterile quarrels and debates.”

In his May 1 statement obtained by ACI Africa, Bishop Donatien Bafuidinsoni says he is concerned about the politicians’ focus on their selfish gains instead of championing development initiatives that can benefit the inhabitants of the Province that was created in 2015.

“We are astonished that, faced with the current major development issues and challenges, the provincial political class chooses to indulge in sterile quarrels and debates, even though the socio-economic situation of the population is only getting worse day by day,” Bishop Bafuidinsoni says. 

He adds, “Indeed, without a common vision, our politicians spend most of their time defending their own interests and those of their party and sponsors; fighting for a position; being corrupted by string-pullers and fishermen in troubled waters who take the whole province hostage. It is therefore questionable whether they were really elected to represent the people.”

The politicians’ laxity in steering development “is evidenced by the absence of basic structures, roads, businesses, access to drinking water, electricity, a university or higher institutes worthy of the name,” the Congolese Bishop says.

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“Not even a single small health centre has been built by the provincial government since the Maï-Ndombe was made a province! In a province rich in wood, it is scandalous to see pupils sitting on the floor in straw classrooms,” the Local Ordinary of Inongo bemoans.

He goes on to say that “in recent times, there has been a climate of tension and division at all levels and within the population of the provincial capital, fueled by certain political actors in search of a position, popularity or excessive ambition that turns into obsession with the exercise of power.”

“This situation can explode at any moment and become uncontrollable; all it takes is a small spark!” the member of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) says, adding that the December 2018 violence in Yumbi,  Maï-Ndombe “should serve as a lesson.”

He urges the “population of Maï-Ndombe to remain united and vigilant in order to face up to the desire to divide and inflame the Province.”

Making reference to Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter Fratelli Tutti, Bishop Bafuidinsoni calls upon the people of Maï-Ndombe to embrace brotherhood among themselves and cautions them against politicians who seek support by appealing to the desires and prejudices of ordinary people rather than a discourse “about the real issues of our province.”

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He also calls on all “sons and daughters of Maï-Ndombe, each at his or her own level of responsibility, to make a profound change in the way they want to serve or manage this province if that is the alleged motivation of the discourse of some and other.”

The 58-year-old Congolese Bishop asks the politicians in the region to “consider young people at their true value and help them to contribute effectively to the construction of the province because they are worth more than many sparrows, therefore, they cannot be bought at the low price of a small fry or a bottle of beer.”

Politicians should not be exciting young people “with false promises for fruitless or destructive actions,” he emphasizes.

“Without manipulating and instrumentalizing the population, seek peace and use the voice of wisdom to resolve any dissensions,” the Bishop says, adding that the political leaders to “remember that they will be judged on the basis of the realization of a comprehensive program, not on the basis of their obedience to the dictates of mentors.”

In his May 1 statement, the Bishop who has been at the helm of Inongo Diocese since March 2018 also urges journalists and social media users to “take care not to distil fratricidal hatred between the daughters and sons of the province.”

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“Ethical and responsible journalism are effective means of transmitting messages that foster peace, reconciliation and love of work, the only way to achieve real development in the province, which is already lagging behind in several areas,” says the Local Ordinary of Inongo.

Bishop Bafuidinsoni also calls for an “urgent and uncompromising audit of the management of local resources and other funds allocated to the province.”

He adds, “It is more than urgent for the authorities, both at the national and provincial levels, to initiate development projects for the province of Mai-Ndombe in order to bring it out of its isolation and the darkness into which it risks being plunged for a long time to come if we are not careful.”

“May the peace offered by the Risen Lord characterize our daily actions and animate us so that brotherhood and unity are the basis of our belonging to the same province. Confident in the future, let us drive out all fear, all division and let us build our beloved Province,” says Bishop Bafuidinsoni.