Political crisis: new Independent Electoral Commission created, Bishops tell politicians not to take the people ‘hostage’
Abidjan (Agenzia Fides) – The new Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of the Ivory Coast, whose presidency has been entrusted to the opposition, has officially been established. It seems then that this may be the beginning of the end for the political crisis that erupted in the aftermath of the dissolution of the Government of National Unity and the former Election Commission, decided by President Laurent Gbagbo. The opposition launched a series of protests, some of which have been severely repressed, leading to dead and wounded (see Fides 20/2/2010).
The creation of the new IEC was welcomed by opposition parties who canceled further protests.
The violence that followed the dissolution of the government and the IEC were condemned by the Bishops of the Ivory Coast, who have expressed their condolences to the families of the victims and said they were worried about the “situation of conflict and violence that for weeks has characterized the country.”
In a message sent to Fides, issued after the Extraordinary General Meeting of the Bishops’ Conference, there is a reaffirmation of the notion that the “Church has no political purpose. But, when the conditions for achieving a peaceful political community are threatened, the Church, as mother and educator, feels compelled to remind Catholics and all people of good will of the need to focus on transcendental values capable of establishing true brotherhood among men.”
The Bishops made an urgent appeal to political leaders: “Have a sense of responsibility, sacrifice and love for the people in your desire to serve the country. It is not in attacking one another in your special interests that you help the country emerge from underdevelopment and poverty. You have no right, in any circumstance whatsoever, to take the people of Ivory Coast and their future hostage. In the current situation, you should show courage and political will to work together in finding a quick solution to the crisis.”
The message also urges young people to “refuse the logic of violence, because the country’s future depends on you. Do not be manipulated and dragged into the culture of hatred.”
Finally, the Bishops launch an appeal to “the people of Ivory Coast,” that they may seek unity and cultivate the spirit of true brotherhood, and they remind “all believers in general and Catholics in particular, that faith in God Almighty and Merciful forbids the use of violence in all its forms: with words and actions.” (Agenzia Fides 26/2/2010)