An Anti-Nepotism Legislation Could Combat Corruption

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An appeal to law-makers to introduce anti-nepotism legislation

By Daniel Deng Bol
As the country faces the prospect of sliding from recession into slump, coupled with audacious corruption, law-makers in the Transitional National Legislative Assembly should introduce a legislation to prevent nepotism in government appointments. If an anti-nepotism law were adapted and passed into law by the August House it would prohibit any public official from hiring family members to an agency or office which he or she should not have led. This has proven to curb corruption in most of the developed countries. The United States and many other countries, for instance, are typical examples.

President Kiir at the inauguration of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly in 2016.

President Kiir at the inauguration of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly in 2016.

By definition, nepotism is favoritism granted to relatives, and it is considered as one of the fundamental factors which breeds corruption. Leaders should hire and fire people based on public interest, but instead our leaders now hire and fire at will. Try to picture having to fire your son-in-in law. I am sure it happens, but it is rather an awkward thing. And most people would probably be too forgiving when it comes to a relative. And, more importantly, nepotism has the potential to reduce faith in the decision-maker overall. The relative may well be highly qualified, but people will always wonder whether that was the real reason they got the job. That might not be a decisive reason, but I think it is a pretty good one. Nepotism practices undermine the credibility of public officials, public confidence in government and they also undermine morale of public employees.

Members of parliament (MPs) should not take this observation for granted and I would love to see a bill drafted and present to the Parliament for debate. Corruption has reached the climax in this country, it is a reality and no one would dispute it.

There are numerous factors which are involved when hiring a relative:

  1. Emotion is always involved
    You cannot get around this one despite how hard you try and how many heart-to-heart conversations you have. Emotion in personal relationships is just part of the deal and in the big scheme is going to make for a messy working environment more often than not.
    Think about it: How is your cousin going to feel when you, as his or her boss, is amidst having a serious talk about some failure or adjustment that needs to be made? They are going to take it personal because you have a personal relationship, which is bad for business. Human resource persons working for international organizations should be aware of this dilemma.
  1. Expectations will vary.
    It is easy to assume that the given family member knows in advance that “they are not going to get any handouts,” but the reality is that they are always going to have different expectations and limits buried deep inside their brains than your other employees. Now, this does not mean that you are intentionally going to see them differently, but your family member knows, deep down inside, that they are not your everyday employee — and this will affect how they work inside your company and handle disputes.
  2. Your family members will be insiders.
    So you have done it, you hired your cousin and they started a few months back. It is Friday night and you are headed to a family event for the weekend where the said cousin will be in attendance, along with their parents — your aunt and uncle — and a slew of other family members. You arrive and within an hour you realize that the entire family knows more about the inside of your business than you could have imagined and its all the gossipy nonsense that you wish never made it outside your company headquarters.
    Do you know why this happened? Because your family is fascinated with what is going on inside your company, which you rarely talk about other than from a 30,000-foot viewpoint, and now they have the access they’ve always wanted and are attaining heaps of info from your new employee. Not sure if that sounds fun to you — it sounds like an absolute nightmare to me the employment of relatives in the same area of an organization may cause serious conflicts and problems with favoritism and employee morale.In addition to claims of partiality in treatment at work ,personal conflict from outside the work environment can be carried into day-to day working relationship.
  3. There will be perceived nepotism.
    You have brought on your cousin and everyone else at the company knows it. The difficulty comes when your cousin does well and starts getting some recognition for it. There will be people, without question, that believe the sole reason for your cousin’s success is because he or she is your family member — unfortunately, they’ll just never get past it.
    Of course, it would be ideal to build such an environment where the success of fellow employees is as transparent as possible, eliminating the possibility for nepotistic thoughts amongst others, but sometimes it’s just not that simple
    Finally, if our MPS could contemplate about this then would prevent public official to avoid potential conflict of interest in the the work place. The bottom line is that you cannot confuse a professional relationship with a personal one.
    If you hire someone for personal reasons and do not hold them to professional standards, you’re being unfair and will likely create bad feelings.Take these factors into consideration before you hire a loved one. If you are honest with yourself and that person throughout the hiring process, you can avoid a number of unnecessary problems and have a great professional relationship with your friend or family members

The writer is a practicing journalist and can be reached at dengdaniel@thescholarforum.com.

 

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