WCC seeks to strengthen democratic governance and electoral process
A workshop with the aim of strengthening democratic governance and the electoral process in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was held at Kinshasa, capital of DRC on December 08 to 10, 2014 by the Church of Christ in Congo (ECC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) in partnership with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the All Africa Conference of Churches. The workshop encouraged and significant engagement from local churches in the nation.
Workshop on Strengthening Democratic Governance and the Electoral Process
The workshop promoted collaboration among the churches and ecumenical organizations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to raise awareness regarding local and municipal elections in 2015 leading to presidential elections in 2016. The participants agreed on a roadmap for the ECC and the WCC member churches in the DRC that will be implemented in the lead-up to the elections.
The workshop comes after a visit from WCC General Secretary, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit to the DRC in April 2014, when he shared reflections on the resurrection of Christ which, he said, holds particular significance for the DRC, known by some as a “forgotten country with forgotten problems”. The visit resulted into establishment of an informal ecumenical working group which is carrying forward national consultation and collaboration on the electoral process, management of natural resources, gender-based violence, HIV and AIDS, human rights and humanitarian initiatives, as well as youth issues.
The workshop in the DRC brought together more than 150 participants, including international participants, local church leaders and over 30 representatives from ecumenical partners and civil society. The participants highlighted that more than 52% of the voting population are women, and nearly 70% are youth. The discussions underlined the importance of focusing on the role of women and youth, both as electors and candidates.
“The 2011 post-electoral troubles have been a destabilizing factor for DRC, as well as the wider region,” said Peter Prove, Director of the WCC’s Commission of the Churches on International Affairs. “It is important that the global ecumenical family accompanies member churches in DRC in their peace-building efforts and initiatives related to the electoral process, as an expression of the pilgrimage of justice and peace – a call from the WCC Busan Assembly in 2013,” Prove added.
Rev. Milenge Mwenelwata, Vice-President of the ECC said, “The ecumenical family in DRC needs the support and encouragement of the wider ecumenical family as we prepare for elections, and in order to play our role in building peace and promoting justice and human dignity in our country.”
“A peaceful and legitimate electoral process is a prerequisite for ensuring political stability and human rights in our country,” said Rev. Dr Micheline Kamba, WCC Executive and Central Committee member. “It is our vocation, as churches and faith-based organizations, to work for peace and prevent violence by all means. I invite the wider ecumenical family to accompany our churches in DRC as they prepare and engage in elections,” said Kamba.
The WCC was also represented by Semegnish Asfaw Grosjean, WCC programme executive for international affairs, Fr Daniel Buda, WCC programme executive for Faith and Order, and Hendrew Lusey, consultant for the WCC’s Ecumenical HIV and AIDS Initiative in Africa. The WCC delegation also was joined by Prof. Christoph Stückelberger from Globethics.net.
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