Elect Candidates Who “seek the well-being of the people”: Bishop in DR Congo to Electorate

Bishop Melchisedec Sikuli Paluku of the Catholic Diocese of Butembo-Beni in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has cautioned the electorate against irresponsible political candidates, and urged them to elect those who have the best interests of the people at heart.

On November 19, campaigns for the presidential, legislative and local elections officially began, ahead of voting day in the Central African nation scheduled for December 20. 

In a press release issued November 18, members of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) called on political candidates to “respect the laws and good electoral practices” during the month-long political campaigns.

In his November 19 homily at Mater Ecclesiae Cathedral of Butembo-Beni Diocese, Bishop Paluku said, “Elections should be an opportunity to elect people's representatives like MPs, so that they can do their job properly, that is to say, to seek the well-being of the people.”

The Congolese Catholic Bishop underscored the need for the electorate to vote according to their consciences. He said, “All those who run are going to say good things. I've even heard that some are distributing food. I say, don't refuse. Take it. But don't trade your conscience for it.”


He went on to caution Congolese eligible voters against political candidates, who downplay the reality of protracted violence in the country.

“The killings and all the rest are like a fire that's been burning for years. Sometimes it seems to be going out, but it has never been completely extinguished,” the Local Ordinary of Butembo-Beni lamented.

He continued, “There's violence here, there's killing there. These are signs that there are arsonists. Someone who starts a fire leaves fire on the ashes. In these elections, they can present themselves as firefighters.”

Eligible voters in DRC are to participate in the election of the country’s President, 500 members of the National Assembly, members of the 26 Provincial Assemblies, and, for the first time under the new constitution, members of some 300 Municipal Councils.

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.