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BREAKING: South Sudan Minister of Health’s “Kolorona Biruth” Goes Viral on Social Media



A newly appointed Minister of Health, Hon. Elizabeth Acuei Yol Kuol, has gone viral on social media, especially on Facebook and Twitter, for what she calls “Kolorona Biruth” instead of Coronavirus or COVID-19 also known as the “Chinese virus”.

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As she speaks, the newly appointed minister, shows very little confidence and inexperience in her new role although she came to office at a critical time where she is expected to battle a global pandemic in the most vulnerable country on Earth.

Hon.  Acuei is not only a newbie to the public sector but also shows very little academic proficiency and so far many critics have linked her appointment to nepotism.

According to insiders, Hon. Acuei’s daughter is reported to have been married to Dr. Machar’s son, Tim Riek Machar Teny, and her close ties to Mama Teny is believed to have facilitated her recent appointments.

“Hon. Elizabeth Acuei Yol the Minister of Health of the Republic of South Sudan who was brought by Angrlina Teny and Riek Machar Teny because Tim Riek Machar Teny and Angelina Teny is marrying the daughter of Elizabeth Acuei Yol, briefed the Cabinet on March 18, 2020 on the outbreak of the coronavirus” Reads part of a post by Abdelmalik M. H. Elhadia on social media

“I saw a comment about Hon. minister, Cde Elizabeth Acuei Yol some few minutes ago. Folks were out questioning and tarnishing her qualifications. Thus, I like to inform and assure our supporters and members that all our ministers are capable but all need support in one way or another to operate well in this hostile environment.” Responded James Nyoldit, a politician in SPLM-IO

Although there is a loud public outcry on social media to remove Hon. Acuei from this life-saving position, this will not be the first time Dr. Machar has appointed his son’s mother-in -law to a big position.

In 2016, Dr. Machar also appointed Hon. Elizabeth Acuei Yol  as the Deputy Minister of Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development.

In her previous position, however, Hon. Acuei did have much exposure to media simply because she was a deputy minister and also because the lifespan of the 2015-16 Transitional Government of National Unity did not last more than 4 months.

In this position,  Hon. Acuei has responsibility to address media, South Sudanese and Health organizations on daily basis as part of national efforts to combat coronavirus and other health issues in the country.

In addition to leading the Ministry of Health, Acuei is also the Secretary of COVID-19 Task Force which makes her the third most senior cadre in this hierarchy after President Kiir, the Head of COVID-19 Task Force and Dr. Riek Machar, the Deputy Chairman of the Task Force.

The First Vice President, Dr. Machar is facing sharp criticisms both from within the SPLM/A(IO) and also by South Sudanese intellectuals for his recent appointments of ministers, especially the Ministers from the Nuer tribes who are believe to have no prior experience and academic backgrounds in the positions they are holding.

Dr. Machar has led campaigns on reforms and transformations for most parts of his 40 years in politics, however, his recent appointments may taint his legacy given the incompetency displayed by his appointments and the criteria he used to make such appointments.

Although Acuei is a Dinka from Twic Mayardit, particularly from Pan Nyok payam and married to a fellow Dinka Elia Duang Arop, she has lived in London, UK, where her family met the family of Dr. Riek Machar which built up to marriage and close ties that is believed to have led to her political appointments.

On the contrary, Acuei is not a lone, many South Sudanese first languages do not have V and F in their alphabets and therefore many South Sudanese intellectuals cannot differentiate V vs B and F vs P.


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