BY: Juma Mabor, RSS, MAR/05/2013, SSN;
When I read Sudan Tribune online newspaper, one article that caught my attention was, “South Sudan chief justice denies nepotism in appointment of his daughter” which is attributed to the recent recruitment of 78 legal assistants to the Judiciary of South Sudan. The antagonists felt that it was immoral for the chief justice to appoint his own daughter alongside the other 77 legal assistants whilst a substantial number of graduates are still loitering the streets of Juba without jobs. Some also alluded to the facts that these are early indications of establishing monarchies and dynasties in the government institutions while the extremists put it plainly that, the recruitment processes were not even transparent and the public did not have an idea about these legal assistant vacancies advertisement.
For public relations gesture, one would to some minimal extent, agree with these uproars because the evidences are so overwhelming to be ignored and this is because it is either by default, qualifications, or outright intention that both the chief justice and his deputy has at least an immediate relative among the appointees as the CJ has his daughter, the one in controversy and his DCJ has his nephew alongside those appointed on 26th February 2013.
That for a fact is enough for emotions and conservatism but let us sober down and choose to be liberal in our judgments. With that, I offer to lead you in this discourse by stating that, I find nothing wrong with the chief justice, his deputy or even the entire Supreme Court bench appointing their next of kins to the judiciary and any other government institution at any capacity.
Why do I tolerate this opinion. Simple, as long as these next of kin have the required qualifications and necessary capacity to deliver the needed services to this nation, then they should continue to employ them. Let me give an elaboration and I hope some students among you will help me in that aspect; this appointment of next of kins is not a new phenomenon in the world, it happened in the United States some decades back when one American president nominated for appointment, his brother as Attorney General and this appointment had to be approved by the congress and so it goes.
The acrimony started that the president could not nominate his brother for that post because he was the president and thus doing so would amount to nepotism. The president accepted the criticisms and asked the congress for indulgence as he gives them only three fundamental reasons why he thinks his brother is fit to be the Attorney General of the United States of America and why he felt that he could be the right man for the job.
He (the president) says, “My brother, like anyone of you in this congress is an American citizen and that gives him every right to be nominated as the Attorney General (Citizenship). Secondly, my brother is one of the prominent lawyers in the United States of America and that also add to his being nominated as the Attorney General of the United States of America (Qualification) and finally and more importantly, he is my brother” (Relationship). At the end, the congress was convinced and accepted Kennedy’s brother as the Attorney General of the United States of America.
Hence the question, does Achok Chan Reec Madut and Arol Majak Arol meet these criteria as stated by the United States president? To me it is a yes because they are both south Sudanese citizens like some of us and those that are claiming to have not been employed before them. They are also by what I would call ‘biological accident’ next of kins to both the chief justice and the deputy chief justice.
As to whether they are qualified academically, I must have some reservations on that because I don’t know their academic backgrounds but I would also love to assume that they must be qualified because they could not be selected without the relevant qualifications for such technocratic positions.
One commentator went emotional by stating that he was ahead of the Chief justices’ children when they were in school and now he does not have a job and the chief justices’ are appointing there children to the judiciary. In my judgment, this evidence is inadmissible because it does not satisfy the threshold requirement for indicting anyone of nepotism.
One could finish his or her university studies a decade before but if they are not able to pass their interviews and get themselves into some jobs, then it cannot be blamed on some fresh students who finish their studies ten (10) year later and get the opportunities for employment.
If what this commentator said would be the trend, then the queue for employing people would remain relatively long and therefore some would die of old age before their turn for employment arrives I think there was no substance in that argument.
Another commentator was talking of swift promotion that will take place once Achok gets to the judiciary, at least this one is projecting the foreseeable scenario and this is where now our commentator should remain vigil in order to tip off the public in case the father (chief justice) tries to influence the rapid promotion of his daughter in this public institution.
However, this again cannot be used as a roadblock to Achok and Arol in their career developments because one’s career destiny is built towards progress and promotion. They still have the rights to be promoted within their ranks based on their performances and inputs to the system.
I do not know these two individual but I hope reading between the lines on the controversy brought by their appointment, they should now be able to strategize and confront the challenges up front.
Nevertheless, I want to advise the chief justice and his deputy plus their lieutenants in the judiciary that this institution is the backbone of the nation and if there are some alleged malpractices and irregularities associated with the recruitment of judicial personnel, then they had rather be ratified now before it is too late because these people you appoint are entrusted with crucial public affairs and should be persons of highest integrity and moral standing.
Finally, I want to urge my colleagues who are disenfranchised by these appointments to maintain their cool and hope for the best because the likes of Achok and Arol might have had the opportunity to have their jobs guaranteed soon after they finished their studies. That’s something that you haven’t had despite having spent quite a substantial amount of money and time trying to replace the soles in your shoes.
But believe me you…. you have an inalienable right to share with them in equally significant measure and that is, “being a citizen of this country called South Sudan.” They can deny you jobs but they cannot chase you away from this country. Therefore, brother and sister, patience pains but it pays ultimately. Keep our eyes on Achok and Arol!
Juma Mabor Marial is a Lawyer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org