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January 13, 2012

The National Conference of Catholic Bishops has called for the members of the Independent National Electoral Commission to change their practices or resign following the mismanagement of last year’s presidential and parliamentary elections.

In a declaration released on Thursday after a three-day meeting in Kinshasa, the bishops said that they “believe the electoral process was marred by serious flaws that call into question the credibility of the results published” by the electoral commission.

They asked the current members of the INEC to “have the courage to reevaluate themselves and immediately correct the serious errors that have affected public confidence in the institution. Or otherwise, resign.”

The Independent National Electoral Commission “no longer enjoys the confidence of the population,” the bishops said and asked the parliament to “review its composition” and “include members of the civil society for more independence.”

They warned the authorities that “if they continue to rule by defiance, tensions that may seem under control at the moment could rise into a serious crisis that sooner or later will be difficult to resolve.”

They called on the “Congolese people, not to fall into pessimism, despair, violence, tribalism, or xenophobia, but to unite behind democratic and Christian values “of justice and truth.”

“Our country is going through a time of uncertainty and anxiety. Our faith in God and our trust in man, created in the image of God, convince us that this uncertainty and anxiety can be overcome through a change of heart, attitude and practices. We must love our country, be willing to give up selfish interests and seek through dialogue the ways to build peace in DR Congo.”