South Sudan needs to introduce anti-nepotism policy

“When the line comes into sharp focus is when the beneficiary of nepotism isn’t pulling her or his weight, when incompetence is overlooked or ignored, when wrongdoing is rationalized away. (“That’s just John being John”).

BY: Lok Franco Kok, South Sudan, DEC/07/2012, SSN;

During these tough economic times, nepotism (favoritism directed exclusively or mainly toward friends or relatives regardless of merit) becomes the most chronic ineradicable disease, which no one cares even to apprehend. Nepotism is an illegal act. This act is destroying many societies today.

Giving a position or something to a relative or friend with the use of discretion is seen as unlawful and illegal. Granting a new job, promotion or higher career opportunity regardless of merit is illegal. Nepotism can have a high negative impact on peoples’ lives.

It is mainly caused by selfishness since the persons on top wishes to channel the resources to their families and else, scarcity of jobs also have a role to play in bringing about nepotism. South Sudan’s public opinion is wary of the extent nepotism is reaching. Many people do believe that nepotism and is closely initiated by the wide spread tribalism related practiced, wide spread corruption that conquers nearly all government institutions in the Country.

Instances of nepotism can be found in almost every level of government institutions with no exception. Nepotism creeps up in all manners in everyday life and in the workplace as well. It is becoming one of the most perplexing phenomenon practiced nation wide. It has also been a general disease of politics and other private and public services.

Nepotism can be seen as dysfunctional, which is very destructive in political, economic and social order.

Higher education scholarships have been granted recently by many different countries for South Sudan students to study abroad, but to get the chance was not easy at all for those with no people in the central corrupted government. Though nepotism has been a way of life in all government institutions, there are signs that change may be coming if civil society stands firm to strongly denounce the continuation of nepotism.

Nepotism is “to put incapable people in important positions” When left unchecked, many people would get friends and family on the payroll or so, instead of putting the best and the brightest applicants.

What is really happening? Are the public offices going to be used for the benefits of the majority or personal gains. Nepotism is a tool of corruption.

The best example of these corrupt institution was the Jonglei state coordination office in Juba. The above mentioned institution has been corrupted due to the misuse of scholarship forms [i.e scholarship provided by Petronas company to all south Sudanese that met the requirement, three degree programs where provided by Chinese oil company which comprised of chemical engineering, geo-petroleum sciences and petroleum engineering].

The ministry of petroleum and mining had distributed these forms to all ten states of south Sudan to be easily accessed by the applicants. But instead, Jonglei state coordination office has used the dirty politics i.e nepotism and bribery, when you paid then you get a form, if you don’t pay, no chance for you.

They continued lying that they have limitation of forms which they put up a delaying tactic being used by this authority as the deadline for the application is due on 15/12/2012.

I don’t know whether our people understand the importance of the future of this nation. Imagine you forge certificate for your son or your brother-in-law to go for scholarship, what do you think he will do? instead he will come back empty-minded, because the conditions and terms are beyond his capacity as follows.

It is very unfortunate that people are wasting the precious chances on incompetent applicants. Therefore people must be careful about this issue and take it seriously. The truth only meant something when the person who is listening understands it.

In reality, the practice of favoring and promoting relatives or paramours, more commonly known as nepotism, is widely practiced in big and small institutions, in state and federal levels across the country.

Persons in authority making the decisions must be aware of temptation toward nepotism and make sure that decisions are for the good of all involved and are based on objective factors. They also must be aware of their own tendency to rationalize favoritism as being for the good of all when it is really based on what is good for their own relatives.

However, everyone must realize that it is best to avoid even the appearance of evil. What people perceive becomes the ‘reality’ to which they react. If the situation leads to low morale, low productivity, or a seeming lack of integrity, it should be evaluated for its effects.

The ‘sin’ of nepotism is choosing someone based on their family other than qualifications on that relevant position. Here is a prime example I’ve seen in our local politics. A man was elected to a governmental position where he had the power to influence the creation of government jobs and who was hired and fired. Less than a year after he took office, a completely new government job was created and his nephew was appointed to fill it.

There’s nothing necessarily wrong with wanting to help out a family member by providing a job if they are competent. Whereas, choosing key jobs for people you know well and can trust completely or wanting to build an enterprise, that’s a family project. But such things easily become part of an us-first lifestyle.

When it comes to nepotism, the pendulum is swinging. The rules are now becoming more stringent. Relatives were always given consideration. The deleterious effects of nepotism on higher education government scholarship cannot be overstated. It is more persistent that favoritism is the first considered condition in selection of the admitted candidates. It is not just a bad habit, but an addiction that bloats budgets, hurts morale, and undermines the public’s trust.

Friendship is good, and so is loyalty, and there is a lot to be said for the belief that good people surround themselves with other good people. But the logical flip side is that people of questionable morals surround themselves with the same. At minimum, bad behaviors can become normative when co-workers include friends and family.

Nepotism also is a byproduct of networking, and the line between the two can often be quite blurry. Like most people, I, personally, have had a few professional situations in my career in which I wasn’t quite sure if opportunities presented to me were offered because of my qualifications or because the offer came from a friend or mentor.

In either case, I always viewed the possibility of nepotism to be a serious risk, and always tried to make sure my work was above average in terms of both effort and outcome. That is, I never lost sight of the blurry line.

There is ample evidence to suggest that nepotism brings many problems with it. It is often perceived as a practice using a non-objective measure of employment based on kin relations rather than an objective measure such as skills or professionalism. It is often contrasted with meritocracy while others have contrasted it with professionalism.

The dangers of nepotism in the workplace shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s not only wise to promote anti-nepotism policies but also to regularly monitor your staff to ensure that such relationships haven’t developed. Allowing nepotism at any level creates excess damage to the organizational culture.

Especially, nepotism at the higher management or leadership levels will greatly spoil the system image and growth. Leadership roles are very important for the organizational culture and growth.

To protect citizens’ rights and freedoms, defend the public interest, guarantee national security and ensure the proper functioning of the legislature, executive and judiciary and administrative authorities and discharge of duties by public servants and assimilated persons in line with the Constitution and other legislation by preventing, detecting and eradicating offences related to corruption, eliminating the consequences and punishing guilty parties, as well as by preventing, detecting and eradicating nepotism.

The author of this article is South Sudanese reached for comments at

1 Comment

  1. Tongun says:

    Nepotism is a disease that would require God’s intervention not only in South Sudan but the entire Africa region.

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