Target Study: Congolese have spoken out on homosexuality, the death penalty, abortion, and terrorism
The world is facing many different social issues that shake-up customs, cause crises, or bring about reactions in different directions. Among these phenomena are homosexuality, the death penalty, abortion, and religious terrorism. These topics are seldom discussed in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The market research agency TARGET researched these different themes to obtain the different opinions of the Congolese people.
From this TARGET survey conducted in 2020, it emerges that 9 out of 10 Congolese are against homosexuality, the country being very strongly Christian-dominated. Only 3 percent remained in favor of a law permitting same-sex marriage. The provinces of Equateur and Lualaba remain entirely unfavorable to this law.
The right to life and the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment is guaranteed in the Congolese constitution. Despite a de facto moratorium since 2003, the death penalty has not always been abolished in the DRC. The courts handed down death sentences. Nearly 155 people were sentenced to this penalty between 2016 and 2018. To this day, there are more than 500 prisoners on death row in the DRC's prisons.
Three-fourths of those surveyed support the retention of the death penalty against the one-third who would like to see a law abolishing the death penalty. The provinces most favorable to the abolition of this penalty are Haut-Lomami (72%), Tshopo (62%), Bas-Uélé (59%) and Lualaba (48%), while more than half of the Congolese say they are against this law. The provinces of Kwilu (88%), North Ubangi (83%) and Ecuador (68%) are much more unfavorable than the majority of provinces.
Abortion is still difficult to accept in Congolese society. 85% of the population is against the abortion law. The same trend is observed in all categories. Between 90 and 100% of the inhabitants of 11 provinces (Bas-Uéle, Lualaba, Equateur, Tshuapa Kasaï-Oriental, Sankuru, Kwango, Maniema, Mongala, Lomami and Tanganyika) are opposed to the development of a law authorizing the voluntary termination of pregnancy. Respondents in Kasai, Ituri, South-Ubangi, South Kivu, North Kivu, and Kwilu provinces overwhelmingly opposed abortion. Their scores are still below the average of 85%.
The majority of the Congolese interviewed do not even want these three themes to be addressed during the next legislatures.
On the issue of religious terrorism, 56% of Congolese are aware that religious terrorism is a threat to the DRC. They put forward reasons related to religious bigotry (24%), the disorientation of the population by religious leaders (19%), assassinations that destabilize the country (14%) and the threat of Islamists in the DRC (11%). On the other hand, 46% of respondents felt that religious terrorism does not pose a threat to the DRC. 40% believe that churches preach love and peace and 27% say that terrorism is a sin.
People from the Provinces of Lomami (98%), Lualaba (93%), Tshuapa (78%),
Maniema and Mongala (75%), Kasai and Central Kasai (73%), Sankuru (70%), Ecuador (68%), North Kivu (63%) as well as Kasai Oriental (60%) say that the DRC is under threat from religious terrorism, while residents of North Ubangi (75%), Kwilu (74%), Bas-Uélé (70%), Kwango, South Ubangi and Tshopo (62%), Haut Katanga (61%) and South Kivu (59%) believe the opposite.
This survey was conducted from March 18 to 24, 2020 on a sample of 1957 Congolese randomly recruited and then interviewed face-to-face on the basis of an electronic questionnaire. It took place in the 25 capitals of the provinces of the DRC. Respondents range in age from 18 to 65 and older. The representativeness of the sample is ensured by the quota method applied to the following variables: gender, age, occupation, and city of residence.