The Congolese Bishops’ Conference has welcomed the formation of a new coalition government.
In a statement, the National Bishops’ Conference of Congo (CENCO) expressed hope that the new government would serve the Congolese people.
Congo’s Prime Minister, Illunga Illunkamba, announced a new coalition government on Monday 26 August. It came eight months after Félix Tshisekedi won a hard-fought and disputed presidential election on 30 December 2018.
Around two thirds of cabinet posts went to allies of former president Joseph Kabila. Many of those chosen to run ministerial offices are new to government.
Of the 65 ministers nominated, 42 were from Kabila’s coalition and 23 were from Tshisekedi’s.
General Secretary Father Donatien N’shole spoke on behalf of the bishops’ conference. He said: “The Bishops of CENCO are committed to supporting the government if it will work to improve the living conditions of the Congolese people.”
He also expressed hope that, after such a long wait, the country would be “compensated by the quality of the members in government.”
The bishops first called for a new type of government at a Plenary Assembly in June: “We call on the president to assume fully a head of state’s responsibilities, by installing a genuine state of law and establishing conditions for the army to respond effectively to its mission of defending and safeguarding national unity.”
They also underlined the need for strong leadership, due to ongoing corruption and social problems: “Thousands of people, including an impressive number of children, are living in serious food insecurity, in a fertile country, rich in abundant natural resources,” they said.
In December 2018, the bishops’ conference closely monitored the conduct of the elections. Although critical of the final results, relations between the bishops and the new leaders have since improved.
Picture: Supporters of Felix Tshisekedi celebrate on 10 January 2019 in Kinshasa after he was announced as the winner of the presidential election in Congo. (CNS photo/Baz Ratner, Reuters)