Many African leaders have given speeches and sent messages to mark the arrival of 2020, reflecting on the past 12 months and looking ahead to the New Year’s challenges and opportunities.
Here are some highlights and key quotes from 5 African leaders at the doorstep of a new year.
President Muhammadu Buhari spoke of the resilience Nigerians showed during the pandemic, but also commented on non-Covid related challenges in 2020, saying: “The year 2021 will indeed be a year where we will work to reinforce the hopes of fellow Nigerians in the vision of a united and progressive Nigeria.”
“While acknowledging that 2020 was a very tough year, we saw this year put to test our national resilience and ability to survive these tough times and also gave renewed hope that we will again brave any storms that lay ahead in 2021 and beyond.”
“2020 indeed came with a lot of challenges ranging from security and economic issues across the regions to understandable protests that were mainly led by our youths and served notice to the demand for police reforms and accountability. This government heard, this government listened, and this government is committed to fulfilling the five demands of our youths, fully understanding that we all wish well for Nigeria.”
Cyril Ramaphosa, president of South Africa, spoke about the realities of the second wave now gripping his country:
“The year ahead will be challenging and difficult. We are in the midst of a second wave of coronavirus infections, which may even be much worse than the first wave. And while we are greatly encouraged by the progress made in developing an effective vaccine, we know that it will be some time before the pandemic ends. The year ahead will, therefore require our greatest effort, as well as resilience.”
President Uhuru Kenyatta used his New Year speech to urge Kenyans to adjust their mindset and embrace the spirit of renewal and hope, possibilities, growth, and triumph. The president also lauded the efforts of the healthcare workers who are at the forefront in the fight against coronavirus, adding that Kenyans cannot wish away the woes of 2020, but that if the country changes its perspective, it can bounce back and bounce back better.
“I wish to recognise and thank our medics, our healthcare workers, our security forces for their exemplary courage and sacrifice during the continued Covid-19 pandemic. Each and every one of them is a hero in our eyes.”
“I know that we cannot reverse our losses, but we can rebuild what we had before the onset of Covid-19.”
“To every farmer, teacher, artisan, artist, to every worker and entrepreneur, to every innovator and to every investor; I wish to assure you that 2021 is the year of Building Back Better, building back better for the opportunity, building back better for reclaiming lost ground, and for realising greater growth as well as opportunity and possibility.”
President Nana Akufo-Addo said: “I wish you all a Happy, Prosperous New Year! May 2021 bring you joy and usher in a new era of blessing and growth for you and for everyone you hold dear by the Grace of the Almighty.”
President Yoweri Museveni used his New Year speech to warn of criminals and crooks who intend to destabilise Uganda and next year’s elections, by getting involved in cheating.
“I have information people are planning to steal elections, including election officials bribed to change results or facilitate multiple voting. Then we have the ones who want to use violence to alter the wishes of the people,” Museveni said.
“I will not allow the affairs of the people of Uganda to be messed up by criminals and traitors who cheat,” he said, warning again, “All of you who are involved, please stop. I know, and I will act.”