“If we want a kind of politics where leaders are held to account when implicated of corruption and incompetence, if accountability and integrity in leadership are valuable to us, it must be shown in our votes,” the Catholic Bishops emphasize.
To ensure peaceful and fair elections, the Catholic Church leaders in Botswana, Eswatini, and South Africa urge politicians vying to various positions “to refrain from inflammatory, intimidating and inappropriate statements.”
They also urge politicians in South Africa to “take visible, decisive action when candidates and their supporters are involved in acts of intolerance, intimidation, harassment and disturbance; respect the election results and do everything to ensure that the rule of law is respected.”
The Catholic Bishops further invite politicians to “take measures to end the practice of political assassinations during election season.”
They call on the media to “refrain from sensationalism and report appropriately and responsibly for the benefit of the common good.”
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The responsibility for peaceful and fair elections, SACBC members say, depends on the “responsibility of each one of us.”
“All of us have a responsibility to create an environment of tolerance and acceptance which enables every South African to support and vote for the party or the independent candidate that they choose, without fear of violence and intimidation,” they add.
SACBC members further appeal for prayers ahead of the election saying, “The nation should rely on the strength of God’s grace as we seek the integration of Gospel values into the circumstances of our politics.”
“As such, in working with the Holy Spirit to build this new normal in South African politics, we should all be guided by the love of the Gospel, which is the spring of all change and which urges us to enter into the wounds of history and rise again,” the Catholic Bishops say in their October 14 pastoral letter shared with ACI Africa.
Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.