Monday, October 24, 2005

Some observations on the new GOSS cabinet.........

As I look through the recently announced cabinet of Southern Sudan, its striking that we have once again lost the battle over the important portfolios to the National Congress. It is mind boggling that the SPLM leadership handed the portfolio of "Industry & Mining" to a representative of Omer ElBashir's party (albeit a southerner) after they adamantly refused to let us have Energy and Mining in the Government of National Unity.
The Northern ruling party used its prerogative as the senior partner in Khartoum to hold on dearly to Energy, and there is no logical reason that the SPLM should now roll over again and hand over the Industry and mining Ministry to a member of the National Congress. It is not questioning the patriotism of the selected minister to point out that a strategic position like that should have been held by the SPLM
and assigned to a strong and able fighter among the ranks of the Movement. The same holds for the Agriculture portfolio, an indication that the pledge by the leadership to "USE OIL TO FUEL AGRICULTURE" will not be seriously pursued since it is not high in the agenda of the movement as a political party and was thus thrown over to another party. This is very disappointing, and I hope that these strings of setbacks will stop at some point.
There has also been enough howling and protesting on list-serves about alleged scant representation by some ethnic groups. I understand if some groups feel slighted, and in a participatory democracy, they can cry foul. But I haven't seen any critiques that also rise above tribal grievances (legitimate as they maybe) to address glaring problems with the allocation of ministries and the placement of individuals based on their abilities and not just for the sake of political and sectional balancing.
At some point, we have to get to a time when the merits of the individuals or concrete issues like become the object of our debate as much as the representation of our tribes. After all, the history of our country has proven that the sons of some our regions did the most damage to their own people and regions. I would therefore, as a Southerner, be more concerned with the caliber of the people and not their lineage, since I am sure that their inclusion will not guarantee that they will wisely and fairly take care of me and you.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Thinking way Outside the box - Cow dung as a natural resource!!

Surfing the web looking for interesting and illuminating information has often led me in so many unexpected alleyways. In one of my recent forays, I came across this article from an Ohio State University research website about the potential uses of cow dung as an energy source.

The scientific details are certainly complex, but it is clear that it is a viable technological innovation that can certainly find great utility in Southern Sudan, where the source of cow DUNG is certainly plentiful.

Enjoy reading the article, and maybe we should all ponder how transfereable and scalable it could be in many parts of Southern Sudan.

Monday, October 03, 2005

A Retort to "Cut Crime Down in America by Aborting Black Babies

This is what the supposedly saintly Bill Bennett
had to say the other day about the crime rate.
Obviously, the controversial and clearly racist
remarks of Mr. Bennett show exactly the kind of base
and bigoted notions embraced by many people in the US.

From an entirely data driven point of view, there is
no obvious correlation between crime rates and the
race of the perpetrator of the crimes. When real
economists control for variables such as income level
and family circumstances, access to education and so
forth, race per se disappears as a compelling factor
in determining the propensity of a person to commit a
Mr. Bennett was commenting on a passage in a recent
book " FREAKANOMICS" that suggested an empirical link
between the declining US crime rates in the 1990s and
the landmark Supreme Court abortion legalization
ruling of 1973. But that passage in the book only
finds a causal connection between the two trends,
greater access to abortion and decling crime rates,
and does not per se suggest that the race of the
aborted fetus had anything to do with it. The authors
of the book reacted to this recent uproar on their
blog, and demolished much
of the fuzzy thinking that links race and crime as
disproportionately connected to the exclusion of other
factors. While many crimes are committed by black
people, the determining characteristic is not
neccesarily their race but rather their socio-economic
conditions while growing up.
Obviously, there is the other risk of swinging far
to the other side and impugning all lower income
people as prone to criminality, which is as immoral as
suggesting that blacks own the franchise on crime as
suggested by Mr. Bennett.