Wednesday, 19 September, 2018

Ghana bids farewell to former U.N. chief Kofi Annan

World leaders to attend Kofi Annan’s state funeral in Ghana Ugandan Parliament To Pay Tribute To Kofi Annan
Deanna Wagner | 15 September, 2018, 12:17

His body was flown to Accra on Monday and about 6,000 people, converged at the Accra International Conference Centre to pay their last respects to the Nobel laureate.

Old boys of Mfantsipim School in Cape Coast, where the former UN Secretary-General had his secondary education and completed in 1957 also brought a lot of emotions to the foyer of the Accra International Conference Centre.

The former queen of the Netherlands, Princess Beatrix, and her daughter-in-law Princess Mabel, who were close friends of Annan, were among the mourners.

"He was also someone virtually anyone in the world could see themselves in: those on the far reaching of poverty or by, conflict and despair who found in him an ally; the junior United Nations staffers following in his footsteps; the young person to whom he said until his dying breath 'always remember, you are never too young to lead - and we are never too old to learn".

Annan died on 18 August in Switzerland at the age of 80.

A private burial service will then be held in the city's military cemetery.

According to Pius Hadzide, Deputy Minister of Information, the decision was taken to honour the memory of the illustrious son of the land.

After serving out his term, he formed the Kofi Annan Foundation in 2007 to work on worldwide development, peace and humanitarianism. "Today, as he lies here, he has finished his work". She described how her husband was always excited to return home, and thanked Ghana for giving the world such an extraordinary man.

It is the climax of three days of mourning which saw thousands of Ghanaians file past his coffin as it lay in state in the capital, Accra.

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Now retired and back living in Ghana, he said Annan had taught him "the benefit of humility, the benefit of honesty, the benefit of decisiveness, and diplomacy from the grassroots".

Annan's nephew Kojo Amoo-Gottfried read a eulogy, describing how he had led a hunger strike in his secondary school to protest against the quality of food in the dining hall.

Born in Kumasi, the capital of Ghana's Ashanti region, Annan devoted four decades of his working life to the United Nations, and was known for bringing quiet charisma to the role.

In an address, Guterres hailed Annan, who served between 1997 and 2006 as the seventh UN Secretary-General, as an exceptional global leader with a deep faith in the role of the UN as a force for good.

Annan, a proud African, whom Nelson Mandela called "my leader", left the post as one of the most popular - and recognisable - United Nations chiefs in history, and was considered a "diplomatic rock star" in worldwide circles.

Annan kept up his diplomatic work after leaving office, taking mediation roles in Kenya and Syria, and more recently heading an advisory commission in Myanmar on the crisis in Rakhine state.

He managed to broker the deal that led to formation of the Grand Coalition Government, pulling Kenya from the edge of the precipice.

Mr Annan is survived by his widow Nane Maria, his children and grandchildren.