THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
“We are abandoned by the state” say bishops of Equatorial region
Bishops of the Congolese Province of Equator are very concerned about the local socio-economic situation in the Equatorial region. “The Bishops emphasize that the Equator is not connected well to the rest of the Country, which is abandoned to itself and does not benefit from the assistance of the central government. All the major projects of the government of Kinshasa have no impact on the local society. The roads are in total ruin while the health sector is not able to offer care to the population” said Fr. Gaspard Ndjoli, Executive Secretary of the Provincial Episcopal Conference of Mbandaka.
“This situation is the result of poor governance and the abandonment of the population by the central government and of the exploitation by the local political class,” added Fr Ndjoli. Studies carried out by the seven Bishops of the Great Equator show that the living conditions of the local population are of great concern in all areas, especially regarding public health, due to the Ebola epidemic that has hit the area. Because of the latest outbreak of Ebola, the ordination of priests was suspended in Mbandaka and the inauguration of the new Cathedral in Basankusu, which was scheduled for July, had to be postponed. Although the Church continues to provide help to the population, the Bishops are urging all provincial and national officials to do their part as well. “The authority of the state must be restored through the various local bodies. Only in this way will the province be liveable” they say.
In 2015 the old province of the Great Equator, located in the northwest of the country, was divided into the provinces of Équateur, Nord-Ubangi, Sud-Ubangi, Mongala and Tshuapa. The Great Equator region occupied an area of 403,292 km² equal to 17.2% of the national territory. The former province of the Great Equator is part of the Ecclesiastical Province of Mbandaka which includes the dioceses of Lolo, Lisala, Budjala, Basankusu, Molegbe, Bokungu-Ikela and Mbandaka-Bikoro.