Catholic Bishops in DR Congo “strongly condemn” Murder of Opposition Party Spokesman

Late Chérubin Okende, the spokesman of Together for the Republic, one of the main opposition parties in the DRC. Credit: Together for the Republic Party

Catholic Bishops in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have “strongly condemned” the murder in “unclear circumstances” of Chérubin Okende, the spokesman of Together for the Republic, one of the main opposition parties in the Central African nation.

Mr. Okende, a former minister and member of parliament, was found dead Thursday, July 13 in Kinshasa, his body riddled with bullets, Reuters reported.

In a statement shared with ACI Africa July 13, members of the National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO) say they learnt with “consternation the tragic news of the assassination in unclear circumstances, of the Opposition politician a day after his disappearance in Kinshasa.”

“CENCO strongly condemns this ignominious and villainous murder of a political opponent in this pre-electoral period,” the Catholic Church leaders say.

They add, “This intolerable and inadmissible crime risks exasperating the political climate on the eve of the general elections.”


“CENCO is concerned to note that this cowardly and odious assassination, which recalls the circumstances of that of human rights activist Floribert CHEBEYA, comes on the heels of the arrests of members of its political grouping and a series of verbal and physical assaults by fanatics of certain political parties who threaten national cohesion and are unfortunately not challenged by their leaders, let alone by the courts,” Catholic Bishops in DRC lament.

They call on the Congolese authorities, “guarantors of national cohesion and the security of people and their property, to shed full light on this savage and bloody crime, and to lay hands on Cain, the murderer of the Honorable Chérubin Okende, so that justice may be done.”

At the end of December 2022, the late Okende stepped down as Minister of Transport when Together for the Republic leader, Moise Katumbi, quit the ruling coalition and announced his intention to run against President Felix Tshisekedi in DRC’s general elections scheduled for December 30.

In a statement, Government spokesman, Patrick Muyaya described the death of Mr. Odende as an “assassination”.

“The government learned with horror of the assassination of Chérubin Okende,” he said.

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While condemning “this heinous act”, DRC’s Minister of Communication “instructed all security services to diligently carry out a thorough investigation in order to shed light on this unacceptable act.”

In their July 13 statement, CENCO members present their “condolences to the biological and political family of the Honorable Okende and assure them of their fervent prayers that God may pour out his mercy on his son and grant him eternal rest in His Kingdom.”

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.