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Breaking The Congo's Cycle Of Inherited Jobs

How would you like it if in your company, deceased employees were automatically replaced by family members, even if they didn't have the training?

Article illustrative image Partner logo Workers in Congo (Julien Harneis)

GOMA - In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), deceased employees are often replaced by family members, even when they have no training. This common practice - in private and state-owned companies alike - promotes incompetence and exasperates skilled job seekers.

“Everybody, that means young, old and women, must work,” exhorted Tchernozen Kambale, president of the National worker’s union of Congo for International worker’s day on May 1. Unfortunately, it is not that easy to find employment in the DRC. “I recently applied for a job at state-owned company looking for a sanitary worker, a field I studied at university. But the person they hired inherited the job from his father, even though he had studied history at university” says Emanuel Nimba.

For the past 10 years, in state-owned companies, a deceased person’s job has automatically gone to one of their surviving relatives, regardless of their qualifications or education. An employee of a water company, who preferred to remain anonymous, told us: “When our water treatment engineer died two years ago, his technical assistant took over, but it is the dead engineer’s son who receives his father’s salary.”

A woman who was hired after her husband died admits that there is a difference in terms of productivity. “I am tasked with monitoring and analysis; my husband was in charge of psychological consulting. It would have been hard for me to occupy his position; I wouldn’t have had similar results…”

A neverending cycle of incompetence

In some companies, when a parent dies, his son automatically claims his job and benefits. “My father was an accountant with the National police in Kinshasa, I’ve replaced him and am paid at his job level,” confirms Seleo, also an accountant. In other companies, the descendant inherits his or her dead parent’s benefits but not their job. At the Congolese press agency in Goma, the director died in 2005 and was replaced by one of his sons. The son wasn’t up to the job and ended up quitting, but according to our sources he still receives his father’s salary. 

Job seekers are angry. “Jobs in DRC companies are becoming hereditary,” complains Benjamin Musemakweli, a scientific analyst. For business management student Eric Ngusu, “People who inherit jobs imitate their parents’ bad management, which is typical of DRC companies.” For Benjamin, “not only do these practices holds back Congolese people who would serve their country better, they also exclude young university-educated intellectuals from this country’s management.”

Read the original article in French

Photo - Julien Harneis

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