The Democratic Republic of Congo’s Catholic Church is under fire for suggesting it knows who won the country’s presidential election on December 30 despite the results not being released, according to a Reuters report.
Congo’s electoral commission made the accusations Saturday saying that the Church is “preparing an insurrection.” On Thursday, Donatien Nshole, secretary-general of the Church’s bishops’ conference (CENCO), announced that the vote tallies turned up favorably for one candidate. The revelation was seen as a threat to authorities in case they had any hints of rigging the vote.
“The announcement of voting trends by Priest Nshole is likely to brainwash the population while preparing an insurrection that CENCO alone will be responsible for,” commission president Corneille Nangaa wrote in a letter to CENCO president Marcel Utembi, seen by Reuters.
Nangaa added that CENCO’s pronouncement jeopardized codes of conduct and violated electoral law. According to the report, only the electoral commission is allowed to announce the winner.
CENCO is widely seen as one of Congo’s most powerful strongholds, and currently represents near 80 million residents in the country.
The coalition “deplores … the partisan, irresponsible and anarchic attitude of CENCO,” said Barnabe Kikaya Bin Karubi, an adviser to Kabila and spokesman for Shadary.
The United Nations’ Security Council has been requested to intervene. French U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre told the media that the 15-member body – tasked with maintaining international peace and security – would “continue to monitor the electoral process in Congo.”
Preliminary election results are set to be released Sunday, and final results will come in January 15. The new president will be sworn in three days later.