The Catholic Church responds to Joseph Kabila: « The people belong to God alone »
On the sidelines of the meeting in Brussels with representatives of the Congolese Bishops’ Conference, Father Clement Makiobo Ma Lelo, Executive Secretary of the Justice and Peace Commission, gives us an interesting insight into the meaning and context of their delicate mission. in a country that is desperately waiting for elections.
Facing the (protest) marches of the Christians, President Kabila retorted « return to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, » like Mobutu in his day.
What do you answer him?
– The Congolese people belong to God alone, the Creator. The human being was designed for happiness, not for misery and insecurity.
What did Caesar do about medical care ???
30% of these are provided by the Catholic Church in Kinshasa and even more in the provinces. The state went bankrupt, the church plugs the breaches. The role of evangelism is to put the man standing. The church stands alongside the population to (r) awaken consciences, not in the middle of the village, where the man is dehumanized. It can not be neutral: it takes a stand for the weakest and the oppressed by helping to build the rule of law.
The Congolese bishops have the personal support of the pope. The recent choice of Bishop Fridolin Ambongo, known for his outspokenness, as coadjutor and successor of the famous Cardinal Monsengwo, who called the « mediocre » to release, is it not a sign at a crucial moment for the country?
– It’s actually a signal. Moreover, Bishop F. Ambongo, who could quickly take over from the 78-year-old Cardinal, was very well received by the clergy and the Catholic faithful of the Archdiocese of Kinshasa, less warmly by certain members of the presidential majority.
The Pope asked the universal church to pray for the Congo and invite dialogue for peace with respect for the rights of every human being.
The Congolese bishops received the support of their counterparts from the Bishops’ Conferences of Belgium, England and Madagascar. As a sign of solidarity with the Catholic Church in Congo, Christians in the Great Lakes subregion (Rwanda and Burundi) relayed the papal message.
Now that the CLC (Coordination Committee) with whom you work hand in hand has decided to suspend the march, what are you asking Christians for?
– There will still be weekly bell concerts, prayers and other peaceful actions, which can not be unveiled today. With the possibility of restarting the steps, if necessary. Because the lines have moved: the people have conquered fear and faced death with courage and determination. The organizers of the marches are forced to live in hiding, priests are threatened but the goal is achieved: to shake the power of Kinshasa and show the face of the world the true face of an anti-democratic regime.
After the violent repression of the marches of December 31, 2017, January 21 and February 16, 2018, the report of the joint commission of inquiry set up by the Minister of Human Rights Marie-Ange Mushobekwa whitewash Christians and denounces the violence of the forces responsible for maintaining order. How to explain this daring on the part of a member of the Government?
– A journalist by training and president-founder of her own party, the Movement for National Cohesion, Vital Kamerhe’s close friend, Marie-Ange Mushobekwa joined Prime Minister Badibanga’s government in December 2016. As Minister of Human Rights, she works with civil society associations. After the condemnations of the systematic repression of peaceful protests, Mrs. Mushobekwa had the courage to set up a joint commission of inquiry composed of representatives of the government, the National Commission of Human Rights and the civil society. What has surprised is the objectivity of the report of this Commission in a country where investigations almost never succeed.
It is therefore a great step to be hailed as the recommendations of this Commission of Inquiry meet the expectations of human rights defenders, including the Church; namely: the call for judicial inquiries, the lifting of the general ban on demonstrations or the non-use of the FARDC and the Republican Guard in crowd management. However, it is worth pointing out that there is still a long way to go in the face of renewed insecurity in the country, the intimidation and arbitrary arrests of those who do not share the point of view of the ruling power.
In Goma, several activists of the citizen movement of struggle for change (Lucha) were imprisoned following an alleged sequestration of priests on January 21 in the cathedral. Complaint allegedly filed by the Bishop of the place, Bishop Kaboy and eight priests. True or false ? The question arises when she hears Lucha say that she works hand in hand with Christians.
– We share the same aspirations as the young people of Lucha, non-violently claimed like them. From what we know at this point, the priests never filed such a complaint. We suspect it is a fake.
Editor’s note: One of the Lucha officials confirmed the deception, adding his concern to see his fellow soldiers nevertheless condemned.
After the massacres and kidnappings in Beni, North Kivu, unrest appeared in Kasai, Tanganyika (Katanga) and recently in Ituri. Many see the hand of power …
– Peace has never been total in the DRC: there have always been pockets of insecurity. But it is every time before the elections that the phenomenon grows strangely. Who is behind? We have no proof. The question to ask: who has interest in sowing chaos and why?
Beni is a martyred area, which has never known peace. Villages have been « cleaned up » despite the presence of the Blue Helmets. A great vagueness reigns over the alleged perpetrators, Ugandan rebels ADF Nalu. If it is them, is it not surprising that they do not commit or more abuses in their country but attack the Congolese home without reason?
In Kasai, as well as in Kananga, where priests have just written a memoir of protest, we have the feeling of an artificially created terror.
And now Ituri is in the grip of so-called interethnic disorders. Unfortunately, the region has experienced land conflicts between Hema and Lendu in the past, but today we have observed that it is not at all about that, concludes Father Clement Makiobo.
The site Beni-Lubero very well documented and sensitized, founded by an Assumptionist Father Vincent Machozi, assassinated on March 20, 2016, explains that the young Hema and Lendu of the territory of Djugu (Ituri) refused the manipulation and stood up to denounce publicly the lie: « no conflict between them, but it is Kinshasa who plays his unhealthy policy »
Local people are fleeing the clashes: already more than 350,000 displaced and 65,000 refugees in Uganda. A new serious humanitarian crisis is emerging!
Who will extinguish the fire ??? The success and resounding of the Christian marches shows the hopes placed in the firm and non-violent leadership of their shepherds.
Brussels March 25
Interview conducted by Béatrice Petit for the Belgian Catholic Media Newspaper.
© Beni-Lubero Online.