Questionable recruitment alleged at Mirco

23 September 2021 | Government



Applicants for junior foreign relations positions have taken issue with how a competence test was set up by the ministry of international relations and cooperation (Mirco), claiming that certain candidates had gained access to the question paper.

The aggrieved candidates wrote to executive director, Penda Naanda.

“We feel that the manner in which the test slots were done might have left loopholes for cheating. We also feel that the ministry deceived us by serving us a wrong job description,” they said.

“In addition to these factual observations, we also learnt of the following allegations, that: questions for the written test were not set up according to the established procedures, but by an individual, as opposed to a panel that only sets up the question paper on the day of the interview.”

The aggrieved candidates also claimed that the answers to the question paper had been leaked to certain candidates, that some candidates had obtained access to the question paper the evening before the test and that ministry officials chose to ignore irregularities that had arisen.

The candidates said the irregularities meant they were robbed of an equal opportunity to qualify for the positions.

“It is premised against the above-stated observations and allegations that we feel the recruitment process for these vacancies has been technically compromised and rendered unfair as some candidates have been robbed of an equal opportunity to compete in the written tests,” the candidates said.

“As a consequence of this, we demand that the oral interviews scheduled for next week be cancelled. Therefore, we beseech your indulgence to restart the process in a fair and just manner that affords every candidate an equal opportunity.”

Prove it

Naanda demanded proof of the allegations.

“The letter raises very serious allegations that need to be investigated when substantiated, as a matter of urgency. The ministry has never received any complaints as per the subject of your letter, and this be provided with proof of allegations made in your letter (sic).”

He demanded the names of candidates who had been provided with questions in advance, the names of candidates who had accessed the question paper prior to the test and the names of ministry officials who were aware of the irregularities but chose to keep quiet.

The information would assist in taking action against the perpetrators, he said.

He added that no questions were shared with candidates before the test.

“As per the established procedures, the questions were set the morning prior to the written interview and this could not have been circulated to any individual prior to the written test. The memo was collectively compiled by heads of department a day after the test was conducted,” Naanda said.

According to him, 2 523 applicants had applied, of whom 753 were shortlisted, with only 575 showing up to write the tests.

He added the venue could only accommodate 200 people per session.

“The ministry cannot have control over candidates who wrote earlier and chose to share information on the questions, thereby disadvantaging themselves, and all candidates were seriously warned at the beginning of each session,” he said.