Honouring Kofi Annan a year on; The 80-year-old who ‘broke his back’ for peace
It was exactly a year ago today, just about this time, that the mortal remains of globally celebrated icon and the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations, Busumuru Kofi Annan were laid to rest.
Former United Nations chief and Noble prize laureate Kofi Annan until his demise fought on many fronts for the peace of many African countries and advocated strong principles of discipline, leadership and women empowerment.
As part of efforts geared at promoting peace, Mr Annan, as head of the UN commission, led the investigation of the Rohingya crisis in September 2016 and subsequently produced a report.
Annan was offered the lead role on the commission by Myanmar’s de facto leader, State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the first time a foreigner was invited to join the government’s efforts to address the country’s tortured relationship with its Rohingya minority .
Kofi Annan also served in the UN peacekeeping mission that supervised the truce between Israel and the Arab States in the Middle East.
About Kofi Annan
Born in Kumasi, Ghana on April 8, 1938, Annan was the only black Secretary-General of the United Nations and second African after Egyptian diplomat Boutros Boutros-Ghali. His journey as a diplomat started in the 1960s and he continued until his death.
Annan was also an author, writing a number of articles and books such as Interventions: A Life in War and Peace and We the Peoples: A UN for the Twenty-First Century.
Kofi Anan’s demise, burial
The world mourned Kofi Annan in August 18, 2018, when he passed on after a short illness. He died in a Swiss hospital in the early hours of Saturday at the age of 80.
He was surrounded in his last days by his second wife Nane and children Kojo and Nina, his foundation and close associates said.
Mr Annan was finally laid to rest on September 13, 2018, after a state funeral service was held in his honour at the Accra International Conference Center. The funeral had in attendance several global heads of state and statesmen including the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome, Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara, and Liberian President George Manneh Weah.
He was buried at the new Military Cemetery at Burma Camp after a state funeral service was held in his honour at the Accra International Conference Centre.
As part of tributes, he was among other things, described by Secretary-General of the UN, António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres, as 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.”
“Very humble, very supportive man and with the commitment to put the world in the best condition. He is very well known for his efforts to find peace in every part of the world”, Cuban Ambassador said about him.
Ghanaian President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo described him as a consensus builder, eloquent, gentleman, proud African, peacemaker, quintessential diplomat.
A statue built in his honour
A 20-foot monument in honour of the late Kofi Annan meanwhile has been proposed by the President Nana Akufo-Addo to portray the subject of a gentle and simple personality who promoted world peace.
While the statue will be in everlasting memory of the Ghanaian diplomat, it will also, when completed, be expected to attract local and international tourists.
After its completion in six months, the monument will stand at the entrance of the Kofi Annan Peace Keeping Training Center (KAIPC) to honour the former UN Secretary-General.
Here’s a compilation of some really strong quotes from Kofi Annan
“We cannot always pass a hat around and insist we want to be sovereign, we want to be independent. We should lead and get others to support us; that support will be much more forthcoming when they see how serious and committed we are.” ~ Kofi Annan
“Many African leaders refuse to send their troops on peace-keeping missions abroad because they probably need their armies to intimidate their own populations”.
“Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family”.
“More than ever before in human history, we share a common destiny. We can master it only if we face it together. And that, my friends, is why we have the United Nations.”
“Ignorance and prejudice are the handmaidens of propaganda. Our mission, therefore, is to confront ignorance with knowledge, bigotry with tolerance, and isolation with the outstretched hand of generosity. Racism can, will, and must be defeated”.
“If you have a problem and you can’t find a solution, you meet again tomorrow and you keep talking until you find a solution. You can disagree with behaviour or a particular position, but you do not resort to calling an opponent worthless”.