Congo – The appointment of Denis Kadima as the electoral chief of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been met with widespread resistance, mostly from religious organizations and other opposition parties. Congo’s constitutional court swore in the head of the election commission on Tuesday, despite widespread opposition to his appointment.
When the Archbishop of Kinshasa, Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo, paid a visit to the neighboring country of Congo Brazzaville recently, he expressed his displeasure with the choice of the country’s electoral commission’s head. The new appointment was confirmed by President Félix Tshisekedi, but it has been challenged by the Catholic Church and Protestants, who, according to Mr. Ambongo, represent more than 90 percent of the population of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and accuse Mr. Kadima of being too close to the president, who has already expressed his intention to run for re-election.
The appointment of Kadima, who is from the same province as Tshisekedi and is a member of the ruling Sacred Union coalition, could strengthen Tshisekedi’s hand in the upcoming elections, but it could also undermine public confidence in the election’s integrity and cause the ruling coalition to fracture. Mr. Kadima, 60, was picked by six out of the eight religious denominations to be their representative.
Some coalition partners have joined the opposition and religious organizations in accusing Tshisekedi of attempting to force through Kadima’s nomination. Tshisekedi has denied the allegations. Tshisekedi has been accused of repressive drift by leaders of the Catholic and Protestant churches, who are among the most recognized politicians in Congo’s democracy. They have called on followers to participate in a demonstration on November 6.