The Catholic Church has a strong history of engagement throughout the election cycle through its teaching and actions, alone or in collaboration with others. Elections and the strengthening of democratic systems present opportunities for the Church and other civic groups to encourage meaningful political participation, debate, and oversight. The Church therefore regards competitive elections as critical for promoting socio-economic policies which are responsive to people’s needs, aspirations, and rights, and which aim to eradicate poverty and expand the choices that all people have in their lives.
This report features case examples from five countries: Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. From these studies emerge three main themes why the Church makes a difference in elections in Africa: religion's rootedness in communities; the Church’s reach from local to global; the Church’s ability to convene and mediate.