Congo-Kinshasa (MNN) – This Sunday, Dec. 23, Democratic Republic of Congo was supposed to hold its presidential election. Democratic Republic of Congo’s national electoral commission, also known as CENI, announced on Thursday that the vote has again been delayed.
Warehouse Fire Throws DR Congo into Chaos
This delay has been one of many during the last couple of years. The people of DR Congo were promised the opportunity to cast their ballots for current President Joseph Kabila’s successor by the end of 2017. Now, many are waiting to see if they can finally cast a ballot on Dec. 30.
Global Disciples’ Barry Stoner says 8,000 of the 10,368 voting machines were destroyed during a warehouse fire just over a week ago, contributing to the delay. The ruling coalition and the leading opposition played the blame game, though the person(s) responsible for the fire has not yet been determined. Furthermore, the opposition party has not been permitted to meet.
“I think there’s just a general concern. There’s a real hope for a new day there as the people become more and more aware of corruption and the things that have been occurring. They’re ready for a change, you know, but there’s concern whether there’s going to be an opportunity for that,” Stoner says.
Hope in Difficult Times
Amidst the uncertainty has also been uprisings and violence. The U.S. Department of State even issued travel advisories against travel to and throughout DR Congo. However, the local church is coming to a realization.
“As these systems begin to fail in this region, really cry…out to God for help to see a new day established in these West African nations,” Stoner says.
Stoner explains how in DR Congo, there are a lot of things out of people’s control. When he visited in the spring, Stoner saw in person how the electricity goes out and stays out for a week, even in major cities. Because of uncertainty both for politics and for necessities like electricity, people feel a persisting sense of chaos. It makes it hard to operate in daily life.
“People want to be able to trust that things are going to happen like they say they’re going to. So, I think for, even for the church though, to see that the answer is not always in the political systems,” Stoner says.
Pray for the people of DR Congo. Pray for the Christians there to be encouraged and to reflect Christ in the chaos. Also, pray for them to have hope, if not in their current situation, then in Christ their Lord.
“This is from our team leader over in the West Africa region and he says, ‘Courage brothers, do not stumble, though your path is dark as night. There is a start to guard the humble. Trust in God. Keep doing the right thing. May our God in His power keep you there in the [DR] Congo in Jesus name’,” Stoner shares.
Header photo courtesy of Pixabay.