On Monday, 22nd March, South Sudan’s Vice President’s press office confirmed that Rebecca Nyandeng Garang De Mabior, the 5th Vice president of the country, has contracted Covid-19. The Vice president, who is also in charge of the Gender and Youth cluster in the unity government, disclosed that she decided to get tested after displaying some symptoms.
Vice president’s Rebecca’s case is the latest of many infections in the South Sudan government. “She is in good spirits. All necessary precautions are being taken to protect her health and that of the people around her. The symptoms are currently mild. However, the Vice President will self-isolate for two weeks while her condition is closely monitored,” the press office said.
The South Sudan’s office of the president also announced more than two dozens of Covid-19 cases in February. This included junior and senior administrators such as Presidential Press Secretary Ateny Wek Ateny and President Salva Kiir’s policy analyst Madut Majok.
The Under Secretary at the Ministry of East African Affairs, Mou Mou Athian, succumbed to the Virus last month. In May last year, South Sudan’s First Vice President Dr Riek Machar and his wife Angelina Teny, the minister of Defense and Veteran Affairs tested positive for the virus.
The chairman of the National Committee on Covid-19 and Fourth Vice President, Hussein Abdelbagi also tested positive , which came shortly after his appointment. This preceded the Second Vice President James Wani Igga reveal, that he too, had contracted the virus.
In the spun of one week, last year, Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth announced that he tested positive for Covid-19 days after joining the unity government and the former minister for National Security, Dr Majak Agoot, also confirmed that he had been infected.
In December last year, former South Sudanese Ambassador to Russia and former Presidential Legal Advisor, Telar Ring Deng, died at an Aspen medical facility days after declaring on social media that he was sick with the virus.
Vice President Rebecca Garang, who is currently abroad, urged South Sudanese to remain vigilant in order to protect themselves and their loved ones from the deadly disease.
Before her appointment in February 2020, Rebecca served as the Minister of Roads and Transport for the government of Southern Sudan and as an advisor for the President of South Sudan on gender and human rights from 2007 to 2014.
The widow of Dr John Garang de Mabior, the late first Vice President of Sudan was at the forefront of the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed Garang before his death on 30 July 2005. She continued to support the implementation of the peace process until the South attained independence on 9 July 2011.