Category: Opinions Written by The Nation Mirror Admin
By Juma Mabor Marial
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 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 applauded 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 had 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 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 her people are not what they say they are in reality, instead, those Kenyans and Ugandans who stay here report negatively about South Sudan. I can confirm this when in December 2013, the crisis broke out and the Kenyan government evacuated its citizens, upon their arrival in Kenya, the Kenyans who were 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 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 Kenyans came back to South Sudan even before the South Sudanese themselves and before the first cease fire was signed. 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, 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 account here to account 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 staffs.
To be continued
is a Trainee Advocate based in Juba