By Prince Malish
I do not think there is problem except that our corrupt practices have reached all-time high.
The issue of jobs shipment in South Sudan is not new especially when the economy has collapsed and we have few jobs available.
I fully agree that the local youth deserve to be prioritised in job recruitment especially for roles that do not require citizens from other states like drivers, storekeepers, logistics assistants for example. We saw the same protest in Yumbe, Uganda three months ago, it is normal when things are tough.
But where I have problem is when politicians back such a protest. Inter-state work helps us learn different cultures and strengthens nationalism. That is why I want to see national youth service introduced in SSD to enhanced integration and combat tribalism.
Since 2005 the issue of recruitment has been a hotly debated topic. Here are some facts.
When government jobs were juicy between 2005-2011 equatorial youths were relegated and never given chance to take up ranks they deserve. What happened?
Majority of equatorians moved to NGOs and UN agencies perceived to have policies that recruit base on merit not technical know who. This led to what I could called Equa-NGO era. Majority of equatorians took up jobs in the humanitarian sector as guards and janitors rising to senior and middle class levels while Upper Nile and Bahr el Gazal youth move up the ladder in the government entities.
However, while we divide jobs between NGOs and government, foreign national took up jobs in both all sectors building for themselves walls as well.
Today, all is not rosy even for equatorians because there is new power shift – the demand to move up to jobs taken up by expats which are not forthcoming as UN agencies and INGOs continue to bring expats from the region and beyond.
Another sidelined job creator is the private sector. While this sector has mixed level of recruitment depending on the company directors, it is also corrupt. We have seen the Petroluem sector dominated by one ethnic group since 2005. Nobody complained not even equatorians because they resigned since many thought jobs in this sector is reserved for oil producing communities.
But what is the problem?
First, corruption in employment is real. Nobody is spared not even equatorians who are being crucified. Today’s jobs are earmarked and not hired. People trade for jobs which is a reality.
Secondly, UN and INGOs have failed to acknowledge after 13 years or so, South Sudan has the required labour to take up all kinds of jobs. This has limited the number of available jobs.
Thirdly, our youth thinking that jobs are on silver plates is to blame. As someone who has recruited and supervised staff, it is a shame when most nationals take jobs to be their right instead of responsibility. Some youth once hired forget to deliver and still want to remain in their places, this can’t happen.
Fourth, most youth lack basic skills to market themselves like CV writing and interviews techniques. When jobs are on merit, it depends on your ability to convince the interview committee you are the type they want not the other. Most South Sudanese do not have this skill.
Finally, relegation of businesses to foreigners. Nobody wants to make chapatti, farm, be a potter or plumber etc. We all want white collar jobs. How is this possible?
All the above and more are the causes of the tension today. But we can solve them.
As the Institute of Social Policy and Research, we are look forward to resolve some of the above issues through skills seminars in the coming months. Advocacy for indigenousation of some jobs and implementation of the relevant laws that safeguard local jobs. Carry out CV writing and interviews skills trainings for youth among many others.