Thursday, June 20, 2024

Of sex for promotions and the failure of the public service

The past decade has been heralded as the best in as far as women empowerment is concerned.

The decade started with an unprecedented high number of women rising to positions of real authority.

The decade saw more women becoming ministers of state, permanent secretaries, Chief Executives and the like.

Convinced that women had hitherto not been given a fair share of the role they had to play, all of us who, for years, had strongly called for real empowerment of women for the first time had a reason to smile and celebrate.

We interpreted the surge of women into positions of power as perhaps the best way to unleash the national potential for the country to realize its ideals.
That is because we cannot run away from the truth that women form a majority of Botswana population in demographic terms.

The fact that they are the more disempowered component of the demographic setup necessarily means that the country is losing out as it is not using its resources wisely.

But over the past few years, there has been growing discontent and disquiet in the public service that corruption inside the public service has now assumed a different face.

There are complaints which we think can not be dismissed offhand that corruption has been more refined to use sex favours in return for promotions.

More capable women who are principled enough not to debase themselves by selling their bodies in exchange for promotions are consistently overlooked, and passed for promotion and career advancement in favour of those readily willing to sleep around with the big bosses.

We hope this is wrong, for it does not only undermine the quality of the public service but also reverses the gains made over the years to enhance the confidence and self esteem of women.

It’s no inspiration for professional young women just joining the public service to look up for examples of professionalism at the top only to see that their forerunners are, to a large extent, people who could reach the top through the brazen use of thigh power.
That spreads not just disillusionment among those who are capable but are overlooked because they cannot furnish the bosses with the required goodies; it also undermines the integrity of our public service.

Worse, the sufferers are not just the principled women who would never give away their bodies in that fashion, but the nation that, in the end, gets poor service and leadership from totally undeserving elements that reached at the top not through merit but through crooked and amoral ways.

Those who have benefited from these evil system either by offering or demanding sex so as to get promotions should be ashamed of themselves.

It is difficult how one can stay with a clear conscience when they know they are in a position not out of merit but because of who they once shared the sheets with.

No wonder our public service delivery has been regressing.

That said we want to pay tribute to the multitudes of hardworking women in the public service who have been principled enough to resist this unbridled sexual abuse by turning down prospects of promotion borne through sexual seduction.

The rise in sex for promotion inevitably calls into questions the quality and caliber of our public service.
It is not just a form of tokenism; it is a demeaning and dehumanizing practice on the nation which, unfortunately, also spreads and engenders failure.


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