“We seem to think we're not governed”: Catholic Bishop on Challenges in DR Congo

Bishop Melchisedec Sikuli Paluku of the Catholic Diocese of Butembo-Beni in DR Congo. Credit: Radio Moto

The myriad and regularity of life-threatening challenges in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) give the impression that there is no functional government, Bishop Melchisedec Sikuli Paluku of the country’s Catholic Diocese of Butembo-Beni has lamented.

Speaking at the conclusion of his pastoral visit to St. Conrad Kasindi Parish of his Episcopal See on Wednesday, July 5, Bishop Paluku said, “We're in a state of malaise, where people are killed every day, raped every day, and attacked from all sides. We seem to think we're not governed.”

“We really need to take care of ourselves. We can't wait for the outside world. We can't wait for the outside nations to come and build, to hand over peace, security, development and quality education to our children,” he added.

The Congolese Catholic Bishop appealed to the political leadership of the Central African nation to prioritize citizen’s welfare, lamenting, “I can't say that this crowd I've just seen enjoys that well-being.”

“Congolese authorities must ensure the welfare of the population,” Bishop Paluku emphasized, adding, “It's up to us Congolese to see to that. Corruption has become a system.”


DRC has been experiencing violent clashes in the East, particularly in the Ituri, Kasai, and Kivu regions.

The World Food Programme (WFP) reported that 6.2 million people have fled their homes because of the crisis. WFP has further reported that since March last year, 5.7 million people have been displaced in Ituri, South Kivu and North Kivu Provinces in Eastern DRC.

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.

Reflecting on the upcoming polls during his July 5 pastoral visit, Bishop Paluku called on the electorate in the Central African nation to “vote in a useful manner.”

In his message on the occasion of the 63rd independence anniversary of the Central African nation marked on June 30, the Archbishop of Kinshasa in DRC, Fridolin Cardinal Ambongo, called on the people of God in DRC to join hands and facilitate the realization of a “Congo more beautiful than before". 

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“I urge the sons and daughters of this beautiful country to stand hand in hand to face together the challenges of national unity and cohesion, the challenges of sustainable peace and development, and the challenge of safeguarding our national borders, the object of so much covetousness,” the Congolese Cardinal who also serves as the President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conference of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) said in his message shared with ACI Africa on July 4.

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.