The remains of the late U.N chief arrived Accra, 5pm Monday, accompanied by wife, children (Kojo and Nina), daughter-in-law and grandchildren. A service attended by the President and top government and United Nations Ghana officials, was held in commemoration of the arrival of the body of the late elder statesman. For the most part, the week has been dedicated to send Ghana’s highest diplomat home in grand style. His body was laid in state at the foyer of the Accra International Conference Centre Tuesday for the general public to pay their last respect, between the hours of 10 am and 4pm. This however met with disappointment and criticism by the general public as a closed casket was not in line with tradition.
Deputy Information Minister Pius Enam Hadzide has explained that the late Kofi Annan who was in all sense a modest person had requested a modest and quiet funeral. In this regard, howbeit a state Funeral, the Government is going through with his wishes.
Wednesday is the exclusive reserve for Government officials and international dignitaries to do same.
In light of this, Ghana Crusader in an exclusive interview with Kwadwo Mpiani, former Chief of Staff under the Kufour Administration, discussed his thoughts on the idea of renaming the Kumasi airport after Kofi Annan, especially since the late Asanteman did Ghana proud.
Mr Mpiani, although himself a proud Asanteman, had his reservations about the airport being named after the late diplomat because he was an Ashanti. He highlighted the effects of Kofi Annan’s life on the Ghanaian people, the United Nations and the world at large; as a result of his great strides, he thought he deserved an airport named after him either in Accra or elsewhere in the country.
“He has done very well, he put Ghana on the map and I think he was some who deserves such an honour. He deserves it, we must give it to him; either in Accra or somewhere else. I do not like the idea that because he was an Ashanti the Kumasi Airport should be named after him. He deserves it anywhere in Ghana,” the former Chief of Staff said.
He further went on to commend the late elder statesman on being a force to be reckoned with and changing the course of things when he held the reins at the United Nations.
“Everywhere he went, they said,”Kofi Annan, where does he come from? Ghana?” he said in part, with a light chuckle. “Also, he came at a very difficult time for the UN and he was able to put some stability in its running,” he continued.
He emphasised that after the late President Kwame Nkrumah, who stood at the forefront to see Ghana redeemed from the shackles of slavery and in turn inspired and paved the way for other Sub-Saharan African countries to gain their Independence, Kofi Annan really put Ghana on the map.
“Apart from Nkrumah, we can all agree that he really put Ghana on the map,” Mr Mpiani added emphatically.
A burial service will be held Thursday at the Accra International Conference Centre, followed by a private burial at the new military cemetery with full military honours and a 17-gun salute.