Lome, 27 January, 2020 / 12:59 am (ACI Africa).
A week after the Catholic Church in Togo was denied an observer role in the upcoming presidential elections by the government, an African missionary serving in the West African country has termed as “a noble fight” efforts by the Church on the continent to pursue truth and justice during elections.
“Given the bloody electoral past of our countries, the Catholic Church would betray her divine mission if she refused to fulfill her task: to defend the right to life by defending the fundamental principles of truth and justice. The current fight carried out by the Church (in Togo) is a noble fight that deserves everyone's support,” Fr. Donald Zagore has said in a reflection sent to ACI Africa Wednesday, January 22.
In a letter dated January 16, Togo’s Minister of development, human rights and religious organizations rejected the December 26, 2019 request by the Episcopal Conference of Togo (CET) to be allowed to deploy its own 9,000 election observers on grounds that since August 2017, the Catholic Bishops took "clearly partisan positions" on the political situation in the country.
In Ivory Coast where a presidential election is set for October, Catholic Bishops recently called on the electoral commission to exercise total independence in exercising its mandate, a stand that has been criticized by a section of the government.
According to Zagore, a member of the Society of African Missions (SMA), the Church’s fight for truth and justice by calling for free, fair and transparent elections in both Togo and Ivory Coast has led to an atmosphere that “remains tense between political powers and the Church.”