By Ernest Addo
World leaders, past and present, high and low have since Saturday enjoined President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, and the Kofi Annan family, in mourning the demise of the first black person to head the United Nations-Kofi Annan, who breathed his last at the in Bern, Switzerland, after a short illness age 80.
Consequently, the President has directed that, “…in his honour, Ghana’s national flag will fly at half-mast across the country and in all of Ghana’s diplomatic missions across the world, from Monday, 20th August, 2018, for one week.”
Rich tributes however keep pouring in in honour of the late Kofi Annan and the works he did for humanity.
On the UN official website, the world organization has posted that:
The United Nations is mourning the death of former Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who passed away peacefully after a short illness, according to a statement published on his official Twitter account on Saturday. The renowned Ghanaian diplomat was 80 years old.
Mr. Annan was the seventh man to take the helm of the global organization and the first Secretary-General to emerge from the ranks of its staff.
“Like so many, I was proud to call Kofi Annan a good friend and mentor. I was deeply honoured by his trust in selecting me to serve as UN High Commissioner for Refugees under his leadership. He remained someone I could always turn to for counsel and wisdom — and I know I was not alone,” Mr. Guterres said in a statement.
“He provided people everywhere with a space for dialogue, a place for problem-solving and a path to a better world. In these turbulent and trying times, he never stopped working to give life to the values of the United Nations Charter. His legacy will remain a true inspiration for all us.”
As Mr. Guterres noted: “In many ways, Kofi Annan was the United Nations. He rose through the ranks to lead the organization into the new millennium with matchless dignity and determination.”
Obama Pays Tribute To Kofi Annan:
Former United States President Barack Obama paid his rich tribute to former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, saying the latter never stopped his pursuit of a better world.
In a statement, Obama recalled Annan’s “integrity, persistence, optimism,” while adding that the world peace icon “embodied the mission of the United Nations like few others,” The Hill reported. “His integrity, persistence, optimism, and sense of our common humanity always informed his outreach to the community of nations. Long after he had broken barriers, Kofi never stopped his pursuit of a better world, and made time to motivate and inspire the next generation of leaders,” Obama elucidated.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote on the micro-blogging site, “We express our profound sorrow at the passing away of Nobel Laureate and former UNSG Mr. Kofi Annan. The world has lost not only a great African diplomat and humanitarian but also a conscience keeper of international peace and security.”
Prime Minister Modi praised Annan for his contribution to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the global body’s roadmap for eradicating poverty, halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education.”Mr. Kofi Annan’s significant contribution to the MDGs will always be remembered. My thoughts are with his family and admirers in this hour of grief. May his soul rest in peace,” he added.
Annan played a key role in Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, and brokering peace between Tel Aviv and Hezbollah in 2006. He was also a part in the ‘Global Compact’ initiative in 1999, which aimed at promoting corporate social responsibility. After his tenure at the UN ended, the world peace icon founded the Kofi Annan Foundation, wherein he continued his human rights work. The longtime UN diplomat was the chairman of the Africa Progress Panel and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, and also the Nelson Mandela-founded group, The Elders.
Back in Ghana, President Akufo Addo on his Facebook Timelime wrote:
The Government and people of Ghana, First Lady Rebecca and I are deeply saddened by the news of the death, in Berne, Switzerland, of one of our greatest compatriots, Mr. Kofi Annan.
I extend, on behalf of the entire Ghanaian nation, our sincere, heartfelt condolences to his beloved widow, Nane Maria, and to his devoted children, Ama, Kojo and Nina, on this great loss. I am, however, comforted by the information, after speaking to Nane Maria that he died peacefully in his sleep.
Consummate international diplomat and highly respected former Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Kofi Annan was the first from sub-Saharan Africa to occupy this exalted position.
He brought considerable renown to our country by this position and through his conduct and comportment in the global arena.
He was an ardent believer in the capacity of the Ghanaian to chart his or her own course onto the path of progress and prosperity.
Undoubtedly, he excelled in the various undertakings of his life, leaving in his trail most pleasant memories. His was a life well-lived.
I have directed that, in his honour, Ghana’s national flag will fly at half-mast across the country and in all of Ghana’s diplomatic missions across the world, from Monday, 20th August, 2018, for one week.
Rest in perfect peace, Kofi. You have earned it. God bless.
Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has described the death of former Secretary-General of the UN, Kofi Annan, as a great loss to the world.
According to him, Mr Annan was “a selfless man who was always driven by the burning desire to help humanity, especially the marginalized and underprivileged”.
Mr Annan was survived by a wife and three children.
However, Dr Bawumia believes “his life will continue to be a testament to all.”
He said Mr Annan’s “contributions to the cause of world peace, as well as his wide range of interests and intellectual depth marked him as a titan among his fellows.”
In his view “the world, especially Ghana, has indeed lost a gem”.
Kofi Annan was born in Kumasi, Ghana, on 8 April 1938, Kofi A. Annan was the 7th Secretary-General of the United Nations and is the founder and chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation. In 2001, he and the United Nations were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace. Kofi Annan was praised for being “pre-eminent in bringing new life to the organization.” (Norwegian Nobel Committee, October 2001).
Kofi Annan and the UN
From his beginnings in Geneva, Mr. Annan held UN posts in places such as Ethiopia, Egypt, the former Yugoslavia and at Headquarters in New York.
Following Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990, he was tasked with facilitating the repatriation of more than 900 international staff as well as the release of Western hostages.
He later led the first UN team negotiating with Iraq on the sale of oil to fund purchases of humanitarian aid.
Immediately prior to his appointment as Secretary-General in January 1997, Mr. Annan headed the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations during a period which saw an unprecedented growth in the Organization’s field presence.
His first major initiative as UN chief was a plan for UN reform, presented to Member States in July 1997.
Mr. Annan used his office to advocate for human rights, the rule of law, development and Africa, and he worked to bring the UN closer to people worldwide by forging ties with civil society, the private sector and other partners.
As Secretary-General, he also galvanized global action to fight HIV/AIDS and combat terrorism.
Mr. Annan and the United Nations jointly were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001.
In his farewell statement to the UN General Assembly in December 2006, Kofi Annan expressed emotion over leaving what he called “this mountain with its bracing winds and global views.”
Although the job had been difficult and challenging, he admitted that it was also “thrillingly rewarding” at times.
“And while I look forward to resting my shoulder from those stubborn rocks in the next phase of my life, I know I shall miss the mountain,” he said.
However, Mr. Annan did not rest, taking on the role of UN Special Envoy for Syria in the wake of the conflict which began in March 2011.
He also chaired an Advisory Commission established by Myanmar in 2016 to improve the welfare of all people in Rakhine state, home to the minority Rohingya community.
Here in Ghana, Kofi Annan established an international peacekeeping training centre that bears his name, which was commissioned in 2004.