Archbishop of Kinshasa denies Presidential ambition
The Archbishop of Kinshasa, Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, has declined the request and is resisting pressure from Christian groups urging him to contest the presidency of the Democratic Republic of Congo despite his popularity and strong support from a large number of the public and the Church.
The Christian Dynamic for Unity and Democracy (DCUD) which is at the forefront of the pressure group said the Archbishop is the “sure and credible” person the country needs at this time “to build a Congo for our children, all those who have not succeeded should be kept aside and replaced with a new force. That is why we thought about Cardinal Monsengwa, who is very much accepted by the people.” Serge Gontcho, a spokesperson for DCUD said.
The Cardinal Monsengwo however brushed off the offer saying he “has other things to do.”
The Catholic Church in Congo DR is 35 million man strong consisting over 40 per cent of the population, a US Department of State report said in 2017 and over 90 per cent of the population is Christian.
The Catholic Church has been part of the negotiation to make President Joseph Kabila leave the office when his tenure expired in 2016 but was unwilling to go. The Church organised street protests to force Kabila to relinquish power but the protest was met with brutal force that killed over 50 worshippers.
Though it is not clear that the Vatican could endorse Cardinal Monsengwo if he chooses to run due to a Canon Law that forbids cleric “to assume public offices which entail a participation in the exercise of civil power.” Catholic Priests are also forbidden “to have an active part in political parties and in governing labour unions unless, in the judgment of competent ecclesiastical authority, the protection of the rights of the Church or the promotion of the common good requires it.”
The Lay Coordination Committee (CLC) of the Catholic Church does not think it is a good idea suggesting the call for the Archbishop to contest could be engineered by some politicians.
Hassan John is West Africa `Editor, GCN and Priest of the Anglican Diocese of Jos.