Prioritize Candidates’ “competence, moral integrity”: Bishops in DR Congo to Electorate

Members of the National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO). Credit: CENCO

Catholic Bishops in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are calling on the country’s electorate to prioritize the “competence and moral integrity” of political candidates they are to elect during the December general elections.

The call by the members of the National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO) is contained in their Thursday, June 22 statement in which they also provide guidance to the electorate to ensure the integrity of the electoral process after voting.

On December 20, eligible voters in DRC are to participate in the election of the country’s President, Members of Parliament, Members of the Provincial Assemblies, and Members of Commune Councils.

General elections, CENCO members say, provide citizens with an opportunity “to renew our confidence in the leaders of institutions that have served the country well, but also to sanction those who have mismanaged it by serving their own interests”

“When it comes to new candidates, let’s give priority to the objective criteria of competence and moral integrity,” Catholic Bishops in DRC say.


They caution the Congolese electorate against tribalists, those who practice nepotism and bribery, as well as opportunists who change sides in pursuit of personal interests.

CENCO members also call on citizens of the Central African nation to be vigilant and safeguard their ballots at the polling station. 

They say, “Given the unfortunate experiences of past cycles, let’s not leave the polling stations until the results have been posted. With the results posted at the polling station level, we will already have a clear idea of the winners”

The Catholic Bishops explain that if voters are aware of the results at the polling stations, officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) “will have no choice but to confirm them. Otherwise, it would be high treason.”

In their June 22 statement, CENCO members go on to call on CENI to guarantee the transparency of voting and tallying of the votes.

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Such transparency, they say, can be guaranteed “by complying with legal provisions concerning the mapping of polling centers and stations, the accreditation of election observers, political party witnesses, and journalists, the publication of final electoral lists, and the publication of provisional polling results by polling station.”

From the Judiciary, Catholic Bishops in DRC “demand compliance with the innovation introduced into the Electoral Law, which stipulates that judges must use the minutes and results sheets of the polling and counting stations, made available to them by CENI, to decide between candidates in the event of electoral disputes.”

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.