AFRICA/DR CONGO - The Episcopal Conference rejects any suggestion of alleged involvement in the failed coup

Wednesday, 29 May 2024 coup   local churches   bishops  

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - The nature of the alleged coup in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) remains uncertain. The coup occurred on the night of May 19 (see Fides, 20/5/2024), carried out by a command of a few dozen men who tried to storm the "Palace of the Nation", where the offices of President Félix Tshisekedi are located, after attacking the house of the Minister of Economy, Vital Kamerhe, located nearby. These objectives seem strange if you want to neutralize the power in office, since the Head of State does not reside in the Palace of the Nation at night.
The command was led by Christian Malanga Musumari, who led a small political party founded by him, the United Congolese Party (UCP), registered in the United States. Malanga was killed in the shootout with security forces, while his son, who has American citizenship, along with other American citizens and a British man, were detained. Immediately after the failed coup, real or supposed, photos and videos circulated on social media alleging Christian Malanga's closeness to some Catholic bishops. This circumstance has been denied by Msgr. Donatien Nshole, Secretary General of CENCO (National Episcopal Conference of Congo). "I have followed with desolation everything that has been published on social networks about this story," declares Msgr. Nshole in a video published on various social media. "I want to reassure the Catholic faithful on this matter," continues the Secretary General of CENCO. "First of all, there is a photo in which Christian Malanga is seen between Msgr. Utembi, President of CENCO, and Msgr. Ambongo (Cardinal Fridolin Besungu Ambongo), who was then vice president of CENCO. Taking into account the scenario of the photo, probably dates back to 2017, when Kabila was still President of the Republic. Rest assured that neither before nor after this photo have any of these two bishops had any contact with Mr. Malanga," underlines Msgr. Nshole. "Secondly, there are people in bad faith who present the Chargé d'Affaires of the Nunciature in Kinshasa, Monsignor Andriy, who had accompanied Cardinal Ambongo on a visit to the President, together with one of the white assailants who was part of the group who attacked Mr. Vital Kamerhe and the Palace of the Nation. These are two different people," says Msgr. Nshole. "On the other hand, when these events occurred in Kinshasa, Msgr. Andriy was with me in Kananga and he certainly does not have the gift of bilocation," reveals the Secretary General of CENCO. Finally, there is a video published by an alleged Catholic priest who accuses the hierarchy of being involved in the matter. "After a thorough investigation," says Msgr. Nshole - it was ascertained that he is a priest from the diocese of Lisala, who lives free from any ties with his diocese in Italy. This is a person whose dossier is being handled by the Church hierarchy due to his behavior." "Therefore, all this has been published by people in bad faith. I don't know why they are targeting the Catholic Church and trying to involve it in these events" concludes the General Secretary of CENCO. (L.M) (Agenzia Fides, 29/5/2024)