By Given Mutinta
If the recent assertion by the United Party for National Development (UPND) that President Michael Sata has appointed a first grade family tree in his cabinet and key national public offices is true then that is an insult and poison to our society. The president’s decision to appoint relatives is a marker of myopicism and deficiencism in the national vision. Nepotism has no room in our present-day Zambian society. It curbs on national unity and professionalism and should be fought against tooth and nail. Zambia belongs to us all, if we are really serious with national developmentalism all regions; Northern, Eastern, Western and Southern should be represented equally in the national squad of leaders to our unalterable destiny of equal prosperity for all regardless of one’s kinship or genesisical background.
We should not allow the current smoke of favouring and promoting relatives or paramour to build into a fire that will transform our country into a nepotistic society. We should unite in denouncing paramourism or cronyism in our society. Never in this age and time should we allow a nefarious culture where employment decisions will be made on the basis of relationships. This is a serious problem which can harmfully affect our country’s employment sector. We have an old history of working hard for what we own, and this invaluable philosophy has brought us this far and we should be all set to defend it against nepotistic tendencies. We are not paramourists but a society that believes that the daily grind of hard work is what makes us polished.
The allegation by UPND that the current cabinet is a surefire model of first grade nepotism will always make the incumbent cabinet smell strongly of nepotism. Nepotism is evil, it is like a gun that is used to shoot workers who are the most innovative or productive or those who possess visionary leadership and are unfairly and inevitably propelled to the bottom. This is the image many of us do not want to be created in our workplaces. Giving jobs to relatives is both immoral and a detrimental canyon to professional motivation. Nepotism should be clashed at all costs because it creates fertile soils for unfair practices that will also result in the loss of competent workers and compromise the quality of service. At the same time, the productive workforce of the country will get eroded and so will the moral fibre of our society. We say NO to nepotism because it makes it clearly unfair to workers who are more qualified and competent, but have no kinship at the decisive human source in the workplaces.
Let us fervidly stand against cronyism before we can create discontentment among employees. We do not want those who are in institutions of higher learning and workers to start feeling that their contributions and dedication to their work is not going to be duly recognized by their employers and potential employers. It is indeed heart-rending that barely three months of being in office the government’s conduct is making nepotism the topic of discussion in the public domain and individual households. Old wisdom has it that there is no smoke without fire. Meeting the required qualification, experience and other requirements on the posted government jobs should be the main tools of hiring employees.
If nepotism is not addressed, very soon it will evolve into a way of life. And it will not be long before job seekers start complaining again that they have the necessary qualifications and have fulfilled all the requirements, submitted their curricula vitae, and have sat for interviews but they have no jobs at the end of the day. This is a depressive corollary of nepotism especially in a society of hard working men and women.
The Patriotic Front (PF) government should be the top name in promoting the law of the land that guarantees equal job opportunities for its citizens and respect individual professional rights than fostering cronyism. If the allegations of nepotism are true, the president, Mr. Michael Sata’s government is tilling the soil for a culture that will go against the rights of individuals in freely seeking and getting employment.
The sitting government should know that through its tendencies of nepotism it is promoting fraud, and soon will demoralize workers and then create dissatisfaction. As leaders, when we decide to bed with nepotism we are brooding our own quandary. Never at any given time should we accept nepotism as an ordinary way of life in our society. Nepotism is evil and undermines campaigns efforts against corruption because it opens doors for corruption and abuse of power. There is no way we can effectively campaign against corruption at the same time we are nurturing cronyism. Nepotism, like corruption, is a crime. The tendency of nepotism in the current government is a wake up call to fight for a clear and feasible national anti-nepotism or anti-fraternization policy in the workplaces. This will help employers to avoid discrimination of job seekers and employment lawsuits that might come with nepotism.
If the current smoke of nepotism in the sitting cabinet is not checked we will soon beget a culture where it is difficult to maintain fairness and equality in the workplaces. This will shatter employers’ expectations to realise the fruits of their hard work and dedication. We are challenged to prevent the obnoxious, malodorous and ugly head of nepotism in the serving government that will flout the rights of the workers.
Let us fight for a culture where employment decisions will be based on performance; skills, competence, and experience rather than on paramourism. We all have an obligation to put checks and balances to help the sitting government to be transparent and accountable in its appointments. We should be resolute to appeal against the mistreatment of professional rights by acting as a regulatory body of the government. Let us be dauntless and take the mandate of investigating cases related to nepotism and appeal to anti-corruption body. Those who have been appointed to work in anti- corruption commission, no matter what, in the virtue of the law it is not conventional to favour people on the basis of blood line, friendship and ethnicity. Those who are inebriated with tendencies of nepotism should unsparingly face the wrath of the law. It is high time we had an environment where employment is in accordance with the competence and experience one holds.
The current allegation of first grade nepotism in the current cabinet is an indication that we lack principles or rather anti-nepotism or anti-fraternalization polices to regulate discriminatory action that has emerged as the hallmark for most of the government appointments.
Written by Given Mutinta
Health Economics and HIV/AIDS Research Division, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville Campus,
Private Bag X54001, Durban 4000, South Africa