AA / Kinshasa / Pascal Mulegwa
The Congolese authorities and other personalities condemned, Monday, the desecration of Catholic parishes in the province of Kasai Oriental (Center) stronghold of President Félix Tshisekedi while the Church is at daggers drawn with power.
A dozen parishes have been vandalized, sacred objects and liturgical ornaments taken between April and July, said in a statement, the bishop of the diocese of Mbuji – Mayi, Mgr Bernard Kasanda. A handful of young people tried to vandalize the residence of Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo, Sunday in Kinshasa, accusing him of being opposed to the regime in place.
“The government of the republic strongly condemns the acts of desecration, violence and vandalism which have been observed in Kinshasa and Mbuji Mayi against the Catholic Church. Vandalism and violence have no place in today’s Congo, ”reacted Congolese Prime Minister Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde.
The former governor of the province of Katanga (South – East) currently a member of the presidential coalition, Moïse Katumbi, affirmed that “such sacrilegious acts have never occurred with such intensity in the DRC”.
“I strongly condemn the desecration of churches in Kasai, as well as the pressure exerted in front of the residence of Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo. We must put an end to intolerance, ”he said on his Twitter account.
The former vice-president Jean-Pierre Bemba judged “inadmissible” these “behaviors which must imperatively be sanctioned”.
From a hospital, Vital Kamerhe, former chief of staff of President Félix Tshisekedi, convicted in a case of embezzlement, warned that these acts and these “inflammatory speeches risk plunging the country back into the chaos of the 1960s” marked by the secession. He called for “a patriotic leap for cohesion and to build a Congo where it will be good to live, without exclusion”. The opponent Martin Fayulu, who still claims his victory in the presidential election of December 30, 2018 in the DRC, said, for his part, that these “unacceptable acts are the work of a category of people in distress who must very quickly re-enter ”.
In a press release from the National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO), the cardinal, archbishops and bishops said they were “saddened” by the attacks on the parishes in Kasai and “shocked” by the attack on the residence of Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo . “It is a violation of democracy,” according to CENCO.
In Kasai, the authorities called a meeting of the security council on Monday to which the bishop of the diocese of Mbuji-Mayi was invited.
The Catholic Church has always been at the heart of the political struggle in the DRC where it had organized marches through parishes in Kinshasa and other cities of the country to demand the departure of Joseph Kabila in 2018 and the organization of elections.
The Church had also contested the results of the presidential election, giving Felix Tshisekedi as the winner. For the Church, the results did not express the will “of the people”.
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