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Annan’s passing is a huge loss to all – President

The Late Kofi Annan

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on Thursday, eulogised the Seventh UN Secretary-General and astute Ghanaian statesman, saying “Ghana, Africa and the world have suffered greatly from his passing.”

Delivering a tribute at the funeral ceremony for his burial, the President said Mr Annan brought considerable renown to Ghana by his position and by his conduct and comportment in the global arena.

“Charming, cosmopolitan, consensus-builder, elegant, eloquent, gentle-mannered, modest, polyglot, proud African, peacemaker, quintessential diplomat-these words are still inadequate to capture the fullness of the personality of Kofi Annan, one of the truly iconic figures of modern times,” he noted.

“Indeed the outpouring of tributes from the world over is an accurate measure of the man, a man who gave his life to making peace where there was conflict, to defending the voiceless the voiceless who were powerless, to promoting virtue where there was evil.”

President Akufo-Addo noted that despite the “unjustified attacks” on him, trying to fix him with responsibility for the genocide in Rwanda and Srebrenica when he was head of UN Peace Keeping operations, Mr Annan “never lost his moral compass, as he showed when he stood up to the might of the United States of America when she was embarking on her ill-fated intervention in Iraq.”

He said Mr Annan’s “epic but unavailing effort” to establish a supremacy of international law over the actions of the world’s greatest power “won him the admiration of all right-thinking persons,” adding, “History has vindicated him.”

“Undoubtedly, he excelled in the various undertakings of his life, leaving in his trails most pleasant memories. His was a life well lived.”

The President said he believed that Mr Annan was an ardent believer in the capacity of the Ghanaian and African to chart his or her own course unto the path of progress and prosperity, adding that “he, Busumuru Atta Annan found the vision of a Ghana beyond Aid, and indeed an Africa beyond aid, very appealing.”

He recalled the “sensitive, deeply appreciated advice” Mr Annan lent to him when he became president of Ghana in 2017, saying, “Ghana, Africa and the world have suffered greatly from his passing.”

Mr Annan died on August 18, 2018, after a brief illness in the Swiss city of Berne.

He was survived by his wife, Nane Maria, their children, Ama, Kojo and Nina.

Many world leaders and scores of dignitaries, held at the Accra International Conference Centre.

The solemn ceremony, telecast live to millions across the globe, was witnessed by thousands from all walks of live, as they paid their last respects to the man, Annan, considered the doyen of global peace.

At the ceremony was the Secretary-General of the UN, Antonio Gutteres, who said Mr Annan was “an exceptional global leader, whose words were tough and wise.”

Former Presidents Jerry John Rawlings and his wife, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, President John Agyekum Kufuor, and John Mahama were at the ceremony.

Ivorian leader Alassane Outarra, Liberian President George Weah, Namibian President Dr Hage Geingob, President Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea and Mr Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone, were in attendance.

Others are Dr Mulatu Teshome, President of Ethiopia, Prime Minister Brigi Rafini of Niger, Zimbabwean Leader Emmerson Mnangagwa, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Angolan Vice president, Joao Manuel Goncalves,  Her Royal Highness, Princess Beatrix and Princess Mabel of the Netherlands.

Also at the event were the former Nigerian leaders Olusegun Obasanjo and Abdul Salam Abubakar, former German head of State, Horst Kohler, former Finnish leader Tarja Halonem, former Slovenian president Dr Danilo Turk, former Gambian vice President Fatoumata Tambajang, and Former Secretary general of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyako.

The Speaker of Parliament Mark Aaron Oquaye, members of the Diplomatic Corps, traditional rulers, security chiefs, ministers, legislators and very important persons from the Sub-region attended the ceremony.

Mr Annan was later buried privately at the Military Cemetery at Burma Camp in Accra.

Mr Annan and the UN were the co-recipients of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize.

Born in Kumasi, he joined the UN in 1962, working for the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Office in Geneva.

He then went to serve in various capacities at the UN Headquarters including serving as Under Secretary-General for peacekeeping from March 1992 to December 1996.

He was appointed the UN Chief in December 1996 by the Security Council and later confirmed by the General Assembly, becoming the first office holder to be elected from the UN staff itself.

Mr Annan was re-elected for a second term in 2001 and was succeeded by South Korea’s Ban Ki-moon on January 01, 2007.

As Secretary-General, he worked to reform the UN bureaucracy, combat the deadly HIV spread, especially in Africa and launched the UN Global Compact.

After serving out his term, he formed the Kofi Annan Foundation in 2007 to work on international development.

He was also the Chairman of “The Elders”, an international organization founded by Nelson Mandela.

In 2012, Mr Annan led the UN-Arab League Joint Special Representative for Syria, to aid efforts at resolving the bloody conflict there but quit over his frustration with the lack of progress with regard to conflict resolution.

He was appointed to lead a UN Commission to investigate the Rohingya crisis in September 2016.

Kofi Annan studied Economics at Macalester College – International Relations from the Graduate Institute Geneva and Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Source: GNA

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