Nepotism in Councils

Sun, 29 Jan 2017 10:00:11 +0000


We totally agree with Local Government permanent secretary Amos Malupenga that nepotism is the underpinning factor to underperformance in local authorities in Zambia, and this is unacceptable.

Is nepotism only practised in the Councils? What is Government doing to address this problem? Is this a problem that Government alone can address?

Apparently, these revelations are a tip of an iceberg as nepotism has not only engulfed the Councils but also the entire Civil Service. Though efforts to address the scourge at national level have not been noticeable, nepotism is real and the need to root it out of the governance and service delivery system cannot be overemphasised.

Needless to say that service delivery to our people has been negatively affected as a result of nepotism. One simply needs to walk into any Council office or government institution and observe for themselves.

What is more disturbing is that nepotism has spread its tentacles to even our education sector particularly in public colleges and universities. Enrolment of students to some of our public tertiary education institutions is skewed towards one region or tribe on account of the dominant tribal characteristic among the members of staff.

This status quo raises concern in the sense it does not only compromise on equal access to educational opportunities for all citizens regardless of the region or tribe one hails from but also the credibility or genuineness of the qualifications that are obtained at the end of the period of study.

Foremost, it raises doubts about whether students who are admitted to such universities indeed qualify or not, let alone how they manage to complete their studies.

Arising from this, it is plain truth that majority of those occupying some government positions are ill-qualified, hence incompetent to discharge their duties effectively. They were not employed on merit but on account of other considerations such as family relations or friendship with some top government officials.

Under the prevailing circumstances, it is foolhardy to expect effective public service delivery to our people when the labour force lacks not only requisite knowledge but also necessary professional skills for the job.

And because of showing favouritism to friends or relatives in conferring government job opportunities, government has suffered sabotage and frustration in its efforts to execute the developmental agenda to the ordinary citizens.

On this score, we think Amos Malupenga hit the nail on its head when he frankly told the Parliamentary Committee on Budgetary Implications of Fuel and Electricity Subsidies on Thursday last week that nepotism is rife in Councils and it has contributed to underperformance in local authorities across the country.

As alluded to above, nepotism is equally endemic in the Civil Service and this has bred political cadrelism knowing that political party cadres are traditionally rewarded with government jobs by those they support during political campaigns.

In this vein, we think that the ongoing re-alignment in the Civil Service is a step in the right direction. The process will guarantee that civil servants are correctly placed in positions that they qualify for.

Therefore, it is vital that Government ignores disgruntled individuals politicising the process because they are only bent on continuing to hold government to ransom through cartels they have established in different government structures.


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