Opinions Mon, 24 Sep 2018

Thank you Ghana for uniting behind Busumuru Kofi Annan's funeral

Three days of mourning with all flags flying at half-mast was a true befitting send off for our beloved Busumuru Kofi Annan. The President, Nana Akufo-Addo, the government and the people of Ghana showed true love and respect for a rare human being of our time.

I have already imagined him standing quietly in a corner at the foyer of the Accra International Conference Centre where his casket was beautifully covered with the Ghana flag and in his quintessential gentlemanly posturing saying to Ghanaians: “Thank you my beloved country”.

But not only him would have been proud of Ghanaians. Indeed we should all be proud that we had the opportunity to courtesy to his remains and to bid Kofi Atta Annan, the distinguished international civil servant of remarkable repute farewell. A man who reached the pinnacle of global recognition yet came down to the level of all race, gender, or creed, rich or poor. He sought for a world of peace and ironically, it was reported that he fell suddenly ill fulfilling one such passion of his while on duty in Southern Africa and never regained his health in a Switzerland hospital.

It is consoling that Ghanaians came out in their numbers throughout the three days to mourn with the family. I joined some senior journalists and the executive of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) on the second day of mourning to pay our last respect to the late Busumuru. I could not believe the numbers and the personalities that had turned out at the Conference Centre even though officially, the announcement was for the turn of diplomats and other officials that day. Each and every one had some solemnness on their faces and possibly, a tribute to honour him.

That day, I noticed the beautiful seamless unity in Ghanaians. I saw the high and low of NDC members arriving and congregating at the entrance of the foyer, ready to go and file past. Earlier, some members of the current government, some NPP stalwarts also arrived in their numbers, some members of the Council of State, diplomats, traditional rulers and many others who joined the queue to bid farewell. In the process, they stopped to grant media interviews to honour the achievements of Busumuru.

The third day which marked the funeral service and burial saw the best of Ghanaian unity. From present to former heads of state, current and former government officials, parliamentarians, other politicians, diplomats, traditional rulers, the clergy, young and old, the conference centre and the foyer were packed to the full for one single purpose.

If there was any such single purpose that has united Ghana in recent times, it is the painful unexpected death of Busumuru Kofi Annan. Commendations to President Nana Akufo-Addo and the government of Ghana for organizing a befitting, solemn and incident free send off for a distinguished son of Ghana.

We should also be thankful to the late Busumuru himself and his immediate family for allowing all Ghanaians to be part of the mourning. For someone who spent a greater part of his adult life outside Ghana, he would have asked for his remains to be interred where he settled down as his second home with regular access to his graveside by his wife and children. Most especially where his own parents were deceased and his wife, a foreigner, was not going to settle in Ghana for any reason and similarly, his children who were now raising their own families abroad.

Despite all their limitations coming down to Ghana for a week or so to bury their dead, the culture shock, the emotions, the demands to conform and many more did not deter them. We never heard of any resistance from the wife and children in bringing the remains down for burial in Ghana.

Dutifully, they accompanied the casket and came and handed over the remains for the traditional burial ceremony and interment. The late Busumuru no doubt loved and respected his home country. He and the family believed that no matter the odds, the bigger Annan family in Ghana, friends, colleagues and the entire nation should share in the period of mourning such a great son of the world, Africa and Ghana.

Thankfully, Ghanaians did not disappoint. Led by the President who, with his Vice, their wives and government officials received the casket on arrival from Switzerland and stayed close to plans till the remains was lowered down to the grave. The best of a nation in mourning was affectionately displayed. The wife, children and the larger family from Akwamu and Ashanti must have smiled with appreciation to the government and people of Ghana for the honour done to their beloved with a funeral that would be a talk of the town for years to come.

Thank you, Ghana.
Columnist: Reality Zone with Vicky Wireko