BENIN: Bishops Champion for Freedom of Expression as Elections Nears

COTONOU, JANUARY 22, 2019 (CISA)-The Episcopal Conference of Benin (CEB) has called for freedom of expression for transparent April 28 legislative elections.

Speaking during a press conference in Cotonou on January 18 after their second ordinary plenary session for the 2018-2019 pastoral year, Bishop Cyrille Houndekon said that the “progressive installation of a climate of fear likely to paralyze many of our fellow citizens and mortgage the passage of freedom of expression.”

They hope that the elections will be “the sign of the maturity of our democratic model through the free expression of the plurality of opinions and projects of society,” reported Lacroix Africa.

The bishops warned against corruption urging the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENA) and institutions involved in the elections to ensure that the results are free fair and just, as a representation of the voice of the citizens.

They welcomed the social measures contained in the state budget for the 2019 financial year and encouraged the government to implement them, for the greater good of the disadvantaged social strata of the population.

Bishop Houndekon is however hopeful that their meetings and exchanges with President Patrice Talon, politicians and civil society will help achieve calmness as the country prepares for the ballot.