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.