Ensure “objectivity, sincerity”: Catholic Bishop in DR Congo to Election Observers

Bishop Melchisedec Sikuli Paluku of the Catholic Diocese of Butembo-Beni addressing election observers. Credit: Radio Moto

Bishop Melchisedec Sikuli Paluku of the Catholic Diocese of Butembo-Beni in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has called on Christian election observers in his Episcopal See to ensure “objectivity and sincerity” in their role.

Eligible voters in DRC are to participate in the election of their 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 during the December 20 polls.

Addressing members of the National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO) and the Church of Christ in Congo (ECC) Election Observation Mission in Butembo-Beni Diocese,  Bishop Paluku appealed for wisdom in their mission for the well-being of the Congolese people.

“Work with objectivity and sincerity, so as not to exercise your mission outside the values of the Catholic and Protestant churches,” the Congolese Catholic Bishop said on Tuesday, December 5 at the start of a training session for the CENCO-ECC election observers.

He added, “Overcome your preferences and put yourselves at the service of all the candidates and all the voters without distinction.”


For four days, the 15 participants from the Lubero and Beni territories, as well as from the towns of Butembo and Beni, are to be trained as long-term observers in election observation techniques; they are, thereafter, expected to pass on the acquired skills to short-term observers.

On November 27, the Cardinal in DRC urged CENCO-ECC election observers to show a sense of responsibility, as the credibility of their observation will determine whether the results are accepted by the winners or the losers. 

“They must know that they are the envoys of the Bishops of CENCO and Pastors of the ECC. In this sense, the credibility of the two Churches that send them also depends on their credibility in objectively observing the elections,” Fridolin Cardinal Ambongo said when commissioning the election observers.

On his part, the Coordinator of the CENCO-ECC Election Observation Mission, Cyrille Ebotoko, urged observers to be vigilant when playing their role, adding that each observer represents his or her Church.

“This responsibility is essential, especially as the observation is taking place in a context where the CENCO-ECC is the victim of a degrading campaign by its detractors,” he said.

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CENCO and the ECC have reportedly set up an electoral observation team of some ten thousand observers, to be deployed throughout the Central African nation.

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.