Nilepet should consider Gender sensitive leadership

By Alex Lotiyu Elia Lado

Since its incorporation in June 2009 under the New Sudan Companies Act 2003 by the Ministry of Legal Affairs and Constitutional Development, so that it could operate as the technical, operational and commercial arm of the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining in order to capitalize on oil profits for the government rather than personalities. The President appointed several Managing Directors (MDs) to lead the company into its prestigious position, above all, to aim at exploring, developing, producing, adding value and managing oil and gas resources in a professional and sustainable way for the sake of common benefit of the people of South Sudan. Unfortunately, corruption, patronage, and mismanagement exercised or condoned by these Managing Directors betrayed the progress of the company and resulted into a serious fuel shortage in South Sudan, probably more than the fuel shortages occurred during the United Sudan.

This unfortunate crisis should not have happened in a country well-endowed with huge deposit of fuel like South Sudan. In exchange, it tells us that the leadership of the company was not able to manage this strategic sector. That is why the President is always compelled to change its leadership. However, generally, the appointments neglected the principle of gender equality as well as the 25 percent affirmative actions towards woman’s empowerment and participation in various levels of the government.

The questions to ask here is: What always impede the president from appointing a female MD to lead this company (Nilepet)? Does it mean that women are not competent? Of course no. There are more competent women out there with a required expertise in various fields including; engineers, professors, managers, doctors, and technocrats capable to lead this company. Certainly, South Sudanese women have all what it takes to lead any position in the government.

To their credits, Rebecca Joshua Okwaci, Awut Deng Acuil, Jemma Nunu Kumba among many others, have left behind an incredible leadership legacy in all the institutions that was led by each of them. Not only that, most of the NGOs in the country today are led by highly qualified South Sudanese’s woman.

I am not instigating the president to replace the newly appointed MD with a woman, nor to start appointing women at the top of the company and at the expenses of their male counterparts. What I am insisting on, is that women should equally be given the chance to lead the company.

Far too frequently we have seen various male Managing Directors failing the trust bestowed upon them by the president for their greed, silliness, and lust for money, which has not only driven the company down into the ground, but also regressed the country back into its bleakest years.

One wonders how these thugs get away after messing up with such strategic state-owned oil company. They should have been apprehended and brutally condemned for their crimes. This will obviously signal a strong message to their successors as well as their subordinates. The continuation of such fuel crisis, if not genuinely talked about, can inevitably pose a serious threat to the stability of the country. It could offer incentives for the innocent citizens to rebel against the government which have been won-downed by conflicts and economic crisis. Therefore, something has to be done. New methodologies should be displayed to stop this chronic mess.

This is why I think it’s high time the President Salva Kiir appointed a woman to lead this sensitive institution. Appointing a woman will on one hand give chance for the women to utilize their potentials, ingenuity, and wisdom and come up with innovative solutions for this problem and on the other hand, it will revitalize the overlooked 25 percent affirmative action towards; women empowerment, improving the diversity, and gender equality in the country. I am confident that this problem will soon come into its final rest, should this plea find its deserving consideration.



The author lectures at Upper Nile University, he can be reached at 0955450033 or lokidenelia@gmail.com


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