The late former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan yesterday made his final journey to the world beyond in Gun Carriage from the International Conference Centre (ICC), where a solemn but classy state funeral service was held for him, to the new Military Cemetery at Burma Camp, in Accra.
This was after Ghanaians from all walks of life-both high and low, international diplomats as well as presidents of different countries filed past and paid their last respect to the global icon whose body was laid in state since Tuesday after it arrived from Switzerland on Monday.
Kofi Annan led the UN from 1997 to 2006 as the first black African to occupy the secretary general position. He died on August 18 aged 80 at his home in Switzerland after a short illness.
In a tribute, Ama Annan, Kofi Annan first daughter described her father as a “man of generosity of spirit, who dedicated his life to others, put himself at their disposal and was one of the most loving people I know. He always made you feel welcome and listened attentively to everything you had to say.”
Ama Annan said because of these qualities and many others, she considered herself “lucky” to have Mr Annan as a father and that makes it “hard to say goodbye”.
The current head of the world body, UN, Antonio Gutteres, attended the funeral in Accra. Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa was also present including other African heads of state such as Alassane Dramane Ouattara of Ivory Coast, George Weah of Liberia, Hage Geingob of Namibia, and Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger.
In his tribute, the Secretary-General of the UN, António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres said: “Kofi Annan was the United Nations and the United Nations was Kofi Annan.”
According to Guterres, the late former Secretary-General of the UN, who died on August 18, 2018, in Switzerland after a short illness was “an exceptional global leader” and also “someone virtually anyone in the world could see themselves in. Those on the far reaches of poverty, conflict and despair always found in him an ally.”
Guterres continued: “Kofi Annan was courageous, speaking truth to power whilst subjecting himself to intense self-scrutiny.” Kofi Annan, he said, had an enormous mystical sense of the United Nations as a “force for good in the world of ills.”
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, also in glowing tribute to late former United Nations Secretary-General, described him as someone who sacrificed his life for peace in conflict zones.
He said Mr. Kofi Annan’s personality was needlessly attacked whiles he served in the highest office globally, but he never lost his moral compass.
“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 who were powerless, to promoting virtue where there was evil.”
“Despite the unjustified attacks on him, trying to fix him with responsibility for the genocides in Rwanda and Srebrenica where he was head of UN peace operations, he never lost his moral compass, as he showed when he stood up to the might of the United States of America when they were embarking on their ill-fated intervention in Iraq.”
“Kofi Annan was an ardent believer in the capacity of the Ghanaian and African to chart his or her own course on to the path of progress and prosperity. He found the vision of a Ghana beyond aid, indeed of an African beyond aid, very appealing. Undoubtedly, he excelled in the various undertakings of his life, leaving in his trail most pleasant memories. His was a life well-lived.”