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DRC 2023 ELECTIONS: Priest Says Voting Is A Christian & Civic Duty; “Be Of Greater Vigilance”

Bishop Joseph-Bernard Likolo Bokal’Etumba of the Catholic Diocese of Lisala in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has urged the electorate in the Central African nation to exercise “greater vigilance” ahead of the country’s general elections scheduled for December 20.

In a statement shared with ACI Africa Tuesday, September 5, Bishop Likolo reminds eligible voters in DRC that “voting is both a civic and a Christian duty”.

“The elections of 2023 call us to greater vigilance, so as to avoid any more missed appointments, as past elections have taught us, marked by results that do not correspond to the truth of the ballot box, and choices sometimes made by incompetent people,” the Congolese Catholic Bishop says.

He adds, “It is therefore imperative to take a retrospective look at the past – of our Mongala Province, to be precise – with a view to mapping out the future, safeguarding what has been achieved and avoiding the repetition of mistakes.”

“The elections have already begun to unfold, although there are still concerns about the organization of the process, so that the elections will be free, inclusive, transparent and peaceful, as we all wish,” Bishop Likolo says in the message dated September 2.

He continues, “The arrival in our towns and regions of candidates (or their emissaries) for the filing of candidacies has already plunged us into the electoral atmosphere. It calls on us to stay alert and, above all, to prepare ourselves accordingly.”

“During this electoral process, voting is one of the fundamental acts we’re going to perform; an act by which we clearly show that we are the primary sovereign and that we are, by the same token, delegating our power to our elected representatives,” the Local Ordinal of Lisala Diocese, who doubles as the Apostolic Administrator of Molegbe Diocese says.

He adds, “I would like to make it clear from the outset that delegating power does not mean getting rid of it or losing interest in it. We still have the power of control and monitoring, and even of sanction – should this prove necessary – through civil society, among others.”

“That’s why we need to go to the polls with greater lucidity and objectivity, in order to choose and equip ourselves with authorities who are truly at the service of the population, competent, and of a moral probity that convinces us,” Bishop Likolo says.

He continues, “Voting is both a civic and a Christian duty. In other words, for each and every one of us – and for Christians too – voting is one of the ways in which we can not only help to build a just and prosperous society, but also to build the Kingdom of God here below, even if this is not the same as the projects of human society.”

To our future elected representatives, now running for office, Bishop Likolo reminds them that “politics is the highest form of charity.”

“By this, the Church does not mean that you should use your emoluments or appropriate the realization of development projects destined for the province, or even provincial revenues, and thus pass yourselves off as benefactors,” he says.

Those to be elected, the Congolese Catholic Bishop says, will have the duty to work “for the unity and harmony of the country, as a free service. More concretely, it’s about setting up institutions and structures that you will lead, for the good of all, starting with the less fortunate. It’s up to you to serve the common good.”

May the Lord bless each and every one of you, and through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, may you obtain all you need to keep you on your toes,” he implores.

Credit: ACIAfrica

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