South Sudan cancels independence celebrations due to Covid-19 fears

Thursday July 08 2021
South Sudan's President Salva Kiir.

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir. PHOTO | FILE | NMG

By Garang Malak

South Sudan's Council of Ministers has resolved that there will be no official celebrations for the country’s 10th independence anniversary on Friday over the fear of coronavirus.

The council also postponed the arranged swearing-in of the new transitional legislature from Friday to a date yet to be announced.

In an extraordinary sitting chaired by President Salva Kiir in Juba on Wednesday, the cabinet advised the public to mark the day in their homes as part of measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Deputy National Information Minister Baba Medan said that President Kiir will speak to citizens in a televised address on Friday.

“Putting into consideration the situation of Covid-19, the president directs the citizens of South Sudan to celebrate in their own houses, and there will be an official national address from the president, everyone will see or hear from their radios and TVs, so that we will be avoiding any health issue,” said Medan.

South Sudan, Africa’s youngest nation, is marking 10 years of independence on Friday.


The country had fought a 21-year civil war with Khartoum before attaining autonomy in 2005. It received independence following a referendum in 2011 in which the majority of the population voted to separate from the Sudan.

But shortly after celebrating this win, the country plunged into a civil war just two years later. A peace deal was reached but another bout of conflict erupted in 2016, before a second peace deal—the revitalized peace agreement of 2018—was reached.

Despite all the civil wars and sufferings, South Sudan is banking on the revitalised peace agreement to rebuild its institutions, according to the official government bulletin released this week. It is relying on the hopes of its people to rally for that goal.