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Cablegate: Catholic Bishops Call for Massive Participation In

VZCZCXRO5599
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #1558 2841135
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 111135Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4923
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS KINSHASA 001558

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM CG ELECTIONS
SUBJECT: CATHOLIC BISHOPS CALL FOR MASSIVE PARTICIPATION IN
DRC ELECTIONS

REF: A. KINSHASA 1197

B. KINSHASA 1178

1. (U) The influential National Episcopal Conference of Congo
(CENCO) called upon all Congolese to vote in massive numbers
in the upcoming October 29 presidential runoff and provincial
assembly elections, but maintained that the Catholic Church
(as well as CENCO itself) will remain neutral in the
second-round balloting between President Joseph Kabila and
Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba. The message, signed October
5 after a three-day meeting of the DRC's bishops and
archbishops, called for the elections to take place in peace
and order, and urged the international community to take all
measures possible to ensure the vote is organized under the
best possible conditions since the DRC finds itself now "in
danger." CENCO did not sign a similar statement in July
issued by the heads of the DRC's major religious groups (ref
A).

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2. (U) The CENCO bishops condemned any act of violence as
well as any appeals to hatred, division or exclusion, urging
their followers to reject any attempts to "balkanize" the
fragile country. The statement appealed to voters to not give
in to the "intoxication" and "manipulation" of media and
politicians attempting to lead people towards violence. CENCO
further called upon all to accept the "verdict of the ballot
boxes" and reject any potential confrontation arising from
election results.

2. (SBU) Comment: CENCO's position is a welcome since before
the July 30 vote, it had expressed its reservations about the
fairness and legitimacy of the electoral process. This
apparent vote of confidence in the electoral process itself,
on the part of a widely-respected body, could help reduce
tension as election results become known after October 29.
Moreover, Catholic churches throughout the country are
sending out strong messages each Sunday calling on Congolese
to choose their leaders wisely and to avoid all calls to
violence. End comment.
DOUGHERTY

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