Ivory Coast’s Catholic Bishops Appeal for “restraint, moderation” ahead of Local Elections

Members of the Episcopal Conference of Ivory Coast (CECCI). Credit: CECCI

Catholic Bishops in Ivory Coast are appealing for “restraint and moderation” amid tensions ahead of regional and municipal elections scheduled for September 2.

In a collective statement issued Sunday, June 4, members of the Episcopal Conference of Ivory Coast (CECCI) invite politicians and their supporters to prioritize national interest.

“In view of the tension that is already beginning to mount, we, your Archbishops and Bishops, feel it our imperative duty to call all the sons and daughters of our country to restraint and moderation,” CECCI members say.

They lament the fact that successive crises the people of God in the country have been subjected to in recent decades “have left deep wounds that are difficult to heal.”

“It is everyone's responsibility to do everything in their power to ensure that the blood of our fellow citizens is never shed again,” Catholic Bishops in the West African nation say in their collective statement issued at the end of their 123th Plenary Assembly that took place in the Diocese of Agboville.


To prevent blood shed, they continue, “requires a collective commitment to work together to avoid anything that could plunge us back into the spiral of violence, with all its disastrous consequences.”

“It is clear that the objective we must all seek is the good of Ivory Coast, because power is not an end in itself,” CECCI members say, and call upon all Ivorians “to take the path of social decongestion for all, so that the local elections on the horizon can take place in calm, tranquility and peace.”

“It is imperative to organize free, transparent, fair, credible, inclusive and peaceful elections,” they say.

Tension has been mounting in the West African country ahead of the polls seen as a test of the power of its major political parties, according to Africa News.

The planned polls that will renew the 31 regional councils in Ivory Coast will be the first ballot for the African Peoples' Party - Côte d'Ivoire (PPA-CI), created by former President Laurent Gbagbo shortly after his return to Abidjan in June 2021.

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According to a list published by the Rally of Houphouëtists for Democracy and Peace (RHDP), the ruling party, eleven members of the government are candidates for the regional elections.

In their June 4 collective statement, Catholic Bishops in Ivory Coast say, “It is urgent to call to order all the parties involved in these elections, in order to guarantee peace.”

They invite the people of God in Ivory Coast to “avoid all kinds of violence, in order to guarantee lasting peace for all, a condition for development that benefits everyone.”

The Catholic Bishops invite young people to “be vigilant and not to allow themselves to be manipulated and instrumentalized by political or religious leaders.”

They encourage those behind the realization of the polls to “create favorable conditions for the smooth running of the upcoming elections, with a view to achieving real and lasting peace.”


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.