Will the Ministry of Labor Order to replace aliens with nationals be implemented?

BY: JUMA MAOR, JUBA, SEP/17/2014, SSN;

This question is very easy for the Minster of Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development to answer because it is apparent that no government minister could issue orders and fail to follow up on them.

Nonetheless, as a citizen of this country and very familiar with the way things have been happening, I am a bit skeptical of how this question can be answered adequately. However, before I could attempt to give any answer to such question, I wish to give my readers a brief background of what I intend to share with them on this particular issue.

Over the past few days, international, regional and national airwaves have been hit by the news that the government of the Republic of South Sudan and particularly its ministry of Labour, public service and human resource development has issued orders to all government institutions, NGOS, private sector, commercials banks and private companies to sack some aliens employed in their institutions and such vacated positions be given to south Sudanese citizens.

The ministry has given all concerned institutions one month up to mid October 2014 to implement this order. What impressed jobless south Sudanese most is the articulation and clarification made by the Undersecretary of the ministry of Labour and public service when she said among other things that, during the war, foreigners were the ones occupying most of the jobs in south Sudan because some educated citizens were at the battle fields while the rest were overseas and now that the country is three years old, the citizens have come back and should be given the opportunity for employment.

The customary blanket excuse that south Sudanese do not have required skills and knowledge has been rubbished by the undersecretary which makes things easier for me not to delve further in counteracting that argument.

Although the citizens of south Sudan both employed and unemployed have applause the idea by the ministry, there are enormous challenges that are associated with this order including but not limited to the misinterpretation of the order by the foreign and neighboring countries, yesterday, I got a phone call from Kenya enquiring that the government of south Sudan has been said to have given all the Kenyans in south Sudan up to October to leave the country and this, the caller said is what they heard on Kenyan televisions and read in their newspapers.

Even if I am not a ministry of Labour spokesperson, I felt obliged to answer and give clarifications in my capacity as a citizen of south Sudan to this caller that, the order was not about chasing the Kenyans or foreigners away from south Sudan but it was about the foreigners that occupy jobs for the local citizens.

The caller was convinced and satisfied with the answer but what I do not know now is whether this one Kenyan I have talked to will be able to convince and clarify to all the 40 million plus Kenyans that have heard in their national televisions and newspapers that south Sudan has not given their citizens less than three weeks to leave the country.

Having been to Kenya for several years myself, I have been a victim of prejudice of the Kenyan media when things would happen back here and they are reported subjectively on the other side, my Embassy in Kenya then was nowhere to protect me and other vulnerable south Sudanese from abuses by the Kenyan citizens, I don’t know if things have changed now.

In Kenya and I think also in Uganda, any little mistake that happened in south Sudan is amplified and it is immediately taken out against the south Sudanese citizens in their countries.

The funny thing is that, even the Kenyans and Ugandans who are in this country and benefiting greatly get worse and fail to convince their colleagues that south Sudan and the people of south Sudan are not what they say they are in reality.

Instead, those Kenyans and Ugandans who stay here report negatively about south Sudan and I can confirm this when in December 2013, the crisis broke out in south Sudan and the Kenyan government evacuated its citizens.

Upon their arrival in Kenya, the Kenyans who were in south Sudan gave some unbelievable reports that they were raped, killed and their money taken and this was on the national televisions and all the newspapers.

The irony in these stories was, the people who were giving account of what happened to them in south Sudan including being killed were the ones talking and one wonders, how would a dead person resurrect and give account of how s/he was killed.

Funny enough again, some of these stupid Kenyans came back to south Sudan even before the south Sudanese themselves and before the first cease fire was signed and this tells you that, maybe, because Kenyans and Ugandans are very selfish people, they didn’t want their other colleagues to come to south Sudan and get the business opportunities that the few of them are monopolizing.

I don’t have anything personal against Kenyans or Ugandans in this particular case but I am just trying to give some few examples of the hypocrisy that the foreigners have about this country although they are the real beneficiaries as most of them are employed in the private sector, NGOS, government institutions and commercial banks.

Now is the time when the real screening should be done, just like the ministry of Labour has realized, there is no reason why 99.9% of the employees should be foreigners whether in the NGOs, Private sector, private companies, commercials banks or hotels.

This has been the trend since independence and it is unfortunate that this decision has come a little too late as these foreigners have already milked the country dry of the resources that are not rightfully theirs.

For instance, in the commercial banks here in south Sudan, you would realize that apart from having employed all foreigners, these foreigners have come up with a very witty policy of running this country dry of its resources by allowing their citizens to transfer their money from accounts here to accounts in Kenya or Uganda and south Sudanese are denied these services.

The few south Sudanese employed at such banks are being intimidated and threatened with losing their jobs if they raise any alarm as most of them are junior staff.

It is also in these commercial banks that the foreigners instead of giving hard currencies allocated to them by this country’s central bank to all their customers, they only allocate them to their citizens who instead of travelling outside or sending them to their families take it back to the black market and bring the money back to their colleagues to be transfer to their home countries.

This routine contines while the ordinary south Sudanese who should rightfully get these services are suffering, the same activities are what are happening in the private sector and NGOS where the human resource managers are foreigners as they take advantage of their positions and invite their colleagues from their countries and employ them in positions where south Sudanese are supposed to be employed.

This is the reason why, in almost every company, commercial banks and NGOs where foreigners are, you would find that from the executive director to the receptionist or even a cook, all of them are foreigners.

So, the ministry of Labour having seen these cheating and illegal businesses was justified in issuing such order in order to salvage the country from sliding into a xenophobic condition because the opinions in the streets against foreigners from the citizens of this country are not something that someone would wish to linger for too long.

Ok, having said all these justifications, is the order implementable? The question is hard, why, because, as reported in the Voice of America Radio this morning, this is not the first time such order has been issued.

The previous ministers of Labour have issued such orders before but they weren’t implemented because these sectors that employ foreigners have vested interests in each and every alien that they employ.

Some of these foreigners are either their business associates, their in-Laws, their friends or their wives and husbands, yes, one can employ his/her wife in these sectors if they have acquired south Sudanese nationality by naturalization but the question is, do all these foreign wives and husbands working in our government institutions have such documents? I don’t know.

Another thing is that, all these aliens working in commercial banks, private sector, private companies and NGOS and dealing in unscrupulous businesses are working in cohort with the mighty in this country and therefore they are so connected to the extent that, ordinary citizens have been rendered voiceless and useless to raise any concerns even when things go wrong in their watch.

The foreigners in the commercial banks in particular are very much protected as they help in facilitating the illegal activities of these big people in the issues that I have highlighted above.

Nevertheless, it is good that, the successive ministers in the ministry of Labour, public service and human resource development have continuously realized that unemployment is what this country is struggling with.

As such, they are one after another diagnosing that employment of aliens in the above mentioned sectors is the reason why south Sudanese do not get jobs and therefore a solution has to be found although there are too many roadblocks ahead.

In that case, I wish to assist the ministry by suggesting the following recommendations:

1. The ministry of Labour, public service and human resource development should give this order to all the targeted sectors and attach to it a circular for such sectors to form committees to study files and recruitment of the staff in each sector with priority on non-nationals to be first eliminated.

The ministry of telecommunication has led in this area and I applause the minister for that initiative.

2. The ministry of Labour, public service and human resource development should form its own oversight committee to also go after all these sectors and make their own screening to ensure that no stones are left unturned in those sectors that people want to continue maintaining the status quo.

3. Just like the minister of telecommunication said, screening and reviewing the files of the staff should not only be to remove foreigners, but it should also be to check the performance of each staff and give recommendations for their promotions or otherwise, because, here, sacking aliens does not mean employing illiterate south Sudanese.

4. In keeping in touch with our neighbours and other countries of the world, the ministry should ensure that, a copy of this order is copied to all our embassies abroad and the ambassadors should be asked to share this information with the host countries such that it is not misinterpreted to mean that south Sudan does not want foreigners in the country.

My fear is that, if this information is not corrected, our citizens in the other countries will be abused and mistreated particularly in Kenya and Uganda because I have experiences in how the media from these countries and their citizens take something from south Sudan in a subjective and wholesale manner.

5. The ministry of Labour, public service and human resource development should if it goes through this order ensure that, capacity building and on-job training of the civil servants is given a priority in all sectors such that in the next few years, south Sudan should not be a laughing stock to foreigners who think that they are here because south Sudanese do not have the required skills and knowledge to be employed in managerial and administrative positions.

6. The ministry of Labour, public service and human resource development in collaboration with the ministry of justice, ministry of commerce, trade and investment should ensure that all licenses for those commercial banks, private companies, NGOS are withdrawn if they fail to cooperate and implement the orders.

In conclusion, I appreciate the decision by the minister of Labour, Public Service and human resource development for keeping with the spirit of his predecessors to open up jobs opportunities to their fellow citizens, the only difference for honourable Minister now is how he would implement this policy because its implementation has always been the problem not the issuing of orders.

As for south Sudanese, it is our right and we should not be embarrassed to demand for employment from our government and ask the foreigners to leave our jobs.

In every country, there are jobs that are reserved for nationals and south Sudan should not be an exception.

Finally, all sectors must collaborate and cooperate with the government and particularly the ministry of Labour, public service and human resource development in ensuring that this policy is implemented because lack of employment opportunities for south Sudanese youth has tremendous impacts on the economic, security and general development of this country.

Juma Mabor Marial is a Trainee Advocate based in Juba
Reachable at: jummabor@gmail.com

8 Comments

  1. AW Joseph says:

    Thank you Labour Minister, Ngol Kolong for getting back our country. Our country is being used as a dumping ground for Thieves, murderers, Robbers, Corrupt, unqualified and incompetent aliens in the name of integration into the useless EAC. Go away East Africa Community. We are better off without you. Better we integrate with North Sudan.

  2. Eastern says:

    I couldn’t agree more with my learnt friend Juma. South Sudan is not up for grabs!

  3. Lavina Lual says:

    Foreigners and specially Kenyans and Ugandans should learn how to interpret and desiminate informations rightly; there is difference between the issue of giving jobs to the locals and deportation of foreigners from a country, these are two different things altogether.

    How many South Sudanese are working in Uganda and Kenya as drivers of NGOs like in WFP and WHO where drivers are foreigners, or how many South Sudanese work in administrative jobs like HR, Admin, Finance, Operations, etc that can easily be handled by locals?

    This decree should be irreversible,……………

    What we are saying is what South SUdanese cannot do foreigners must do, period not the otherway round!

  4. Christopher Yator Chemobo says:

    I think you have also taken this too personal to calling Kenyans “STUPID” very harsh word to use. I also get your point of offering jobs to sudanese citizens and fill it should be endowed to them to get those jobs. However it will be a difficult transition but you will have to endure to achieve your goal.

    All the best as fight for your rights rightfully but in manner that is right and logical.

    Good luck!

  5. False Millionaire says:

    Mr Juma:

    Here you are again sir.A magician so determined to keep us hostages to your fantastic simple manner of communication.You wrote exactly what we were allready thinking.We would just add what we believe south sudan would become,if it has not already become,in the immediate future.We view kenya n it’s society to b scandalous.The wonderful tourism brochure n the post cards r deceptive.Kenya is neither peaceful nor prosperous.See it standing brilliantly like a dinka’s twisted horn song bull becouse of the sky scrapers in Nairobi.But it’s just a white elephant,a chocolet soldier,a fantome that is distened to collapse.Why?Becouse it’s economic fortunes only belong to the minority political power elite,their families n their business collaborators mostly of asian origin.The rest of the Kenyans as u must know r languishing in extreme ignoble conditions of poverty.So is the root cause of the exaggerated delinquant behaviours by the Kenyans.Prostitution,theft,daylight robbery,looting,killing n extortion by police n people of authority r the ordinary vices that have become virtuous in Kenya.But transforming our country n society into the ugly face of Kenya n the kenyan society is the greatest achievement our corrupt political power elite have or r intending to achieve,either knowingly or out of ignorance,since the day of the CPA n throughout the period of the independence.That is why it would b difficult to implement the order to eject or to limit foreign workers from our country.For the elite,ejecting them is like shooting themselves in the foot.But for us,allowing them to stay is like accepting to swallow killing pills in full conciousness.We r in great danger my most dear friend n I hope our society would find neccessary means to resist.

  6. Joseph Omiat says:

    Long list of impracticle crap. Sudan as a nation is yyoung and requires the human capital countries like Uganda and Kenya offerr to build a steady path to development. . Do u known how many sudanies are in Uganda. Enjoying our education giving us no room in our home universities. Do know how many Kenyans enjoy high level employment in Uganda. For as long as they perfoRM there duties efficiently I think the move in its core is stupid. FDI will be lost cause many Ugandan citizens have invested millions in Sudan with the idea of making profit not employing people based on nationality. In this global era. In a young African country. I think all Sudan will be doin is closing its self out of the only possibility for along lasting peace like uUganda.

  7. The Egwe says:

    @ Juma, your article is in its place and South Sudanese should show some kind of support to the Minister of Labor and the Ministry,.

    @CHRISTOPHER, you write and question Mabor as if you are a foreigner. this is not going to be his fight alone but for all the South Sudanese.

  8. False Millionaire says:

    Joseph Omiat:

    Call the move in its core stupid.But that’s just fine with us.We could’nt expect any different reaction from those of you who are just too happy to milk the cow you do not feed.The too much milk you are enjoying has driven you too mad n too blind and you go on a rampage talking about south sudanese in Uganda.Why could’nt you b so sincere to tell us what kind of jobs they have taken there?Not single one.But on the contrary,south sudanese n their presence in your country represent a heavenly economic life line for you.You must b under an inexplicable night mare.We pay for our students’ education in your country,we buy commercial goods from your business sectors,we spend lavishly even on casual visits n when we go back to our country we throw to any nearer ugandan the last ugandan shillings that may b still in the pockets just to prove that we are your good great fellow brothers.Do you ever do all these to south sudan n south sudanese?No.

    You see my friend,I like ugandans more than kenyans.But that is becouse many of you show some common sense and understanding.I don’t want to talk about kenyans.But that does not mean that I do not find them extremely stupid.

    South sudan is an independent state.Think about the term independence alone:it means a human being in his home must b autonomous.Yes we have come out from extreme difficult circumstances of which our human resources were destroyed by the civil war.But having become independent,we welcome those who come to help us.A ugandant driver can come to work in south sudan but under the condition that he trains south sudanese to become drivers.A banker can come to work in south sudan but under the condition that he trains south sudanese to become bankers.A teacher can come to teach in south sudan but under the condition that he teaches south sudanese to become teachers.Consider these few examples,are they the conditions the foreigners are working in south sudan?No.But instead south is functioning as a pure colony under occupation for economic exploitation.The drivers are foreigners that would never tolerate a south sudanese turn boy in their midst.So is the case with the bankers n the teachers.My most dear friend,you are going to finish taking our women to bed in our place becouse you would grow to believe that childern fathered by you are better than those fathered by us.But we refuse this situation sir.The rules of your work with us must b redifined.If you know something,if you want to come to work in south sudan and if you have the spirit of teaching south sudanses to learn what you know,you are welcome.That is the rule number one.If there is a work place to be filled in south sudan but among south sudanese there is no qualified person to fill it,you are welcome to come to fill it.That is the rule number two.Our objectives are clear n simple.Our fellow citizens must take over the administration of our country at the end in much thesame way as you are the masters of the administeration of your countries.Point.

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