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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?

Workers in Congo (Julien Harneis)
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 - JulienHarneis

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Shame On The García Márquez Heirs — Cashing In On The "Scraps" Of A Legend

A decision to publish a sketchy manuscript as a posthumous novel by the late Gabriel García Márquez would have horrified Colombia's Nobel laureate, given his painstaking devotion to the precision of the written word.

Photo of a window with a sticker of the face of Gabriel Garcia Marquez with butterfly notes at Guadalajara's International Book Fair.

Poster of Gabriel Garcia Marquez at Guadalajara's International Book Fair.

Juan David Torres Duarte


BOGOTÁ — When a writer dies, there are several ways of administering the literary estate, depending on the ambitions of the heirs. One is to exercise a millimetric check on any use or edition of the author's works, in the manner of James Joyce's nephew, Stephen, who inherited his literary rights. He refused to let even academic papers quote from Joyce's landmark novel, Ulysses.

Or, you continue to publish the works, making small additions to their corpus, as with Italo Calvino, Samuel Beckett and Clarice Lispector, or none at all, which will probably happen with Milan Kundera and Cormac McCarthy.

Another way is to seek out every scrap of paper the author left and every little word that was jotted down — on a piece of cloth, say — and drip-feed them to publishers every two to three years with great pomp and publicity, to revive the writer's renown.

This has happened with the Argentine Julio Cortázar (who seems to have sold more books dead than alive), the French author Albert Camus (now with 200 volumes of personal and unfinished works) and with the Chilean author Roberto Bolaño. The latter's posthumous oeuvre is so abundant I am starting to wonder if his heirs haven't hired a ghost writer — typing and smoking away in some bedsit in Barcelona — to churn out "newly discovered" works.

Which group, I wonder, will our late, great novelist Gabriel García Márquez fit into?

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