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December 5, 2011

The National Conference of Catholic Bishops (CENCO) has called on Congolese to remain calm as the results of Monday’s presidential election are published.

The head of the CENCO, Msgr. Nicolas Djomo, told a press conference on Sunday in Kinshasa that people should avoid violence. He called on politicians to accept the results of the elections.

Msgr. Djomo asked the Army and the police to maintain their apolitical and republican status by being neutral and patriotic. “They absolutely must avoid all forms of violence and abuses when using force,” he said.

Msgr. Djomo called on the candidate who actually won the November 28 election, “as shown by the results, to avoid a triumphant attitude.” He reminded those who lost the election that “accepting the verdict of the ballot box is an eloquent sign of patriotism.”

Msgr. Djomo said that the Catholic Church is not going to publish its own results of Monday’s presidential and parliamentary elections in DR Congo. He noted that the CENCO’s observers were only able to cover 23,9% of the more than 60,000 polling stations due to a lack of funds.

Before the elections, Msgr. Fridolin Ambongo Besungu had said that the CENCO, working with the Carter Center, will publish partial elections results compiled by 30,000 observers it planned to send to polling stations all across DR Congo. 6,300 of the observers were equipped with electronic devices to transmit the results by text messages.

Msgr. Djomo said on Sunday that “it is not the role of the Church to publish elections results.”

Martin Fayulu, president of the ECIDE, an opposition party, complained after the press conference that the CENCO had backtracked on its promise to publish its own elections results if they did not match those published by the electoral commission.

“The mission of the Church is to tell the truth. The truth as witnessed by its observers,” Mr. Fayulu said.