Kofi Annan to receive a state burial in Ghana

Former United Nations secretary general remembered.

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Secretary General Kofi Annan

Crusader Staff Report

The body of former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan will arrive in Accra, Ghana on Monday, September 10 for a state burial.

The body will be accompanied by his widow Nane Maria Annan, his children and some executives of the United Nations.

A press conference held in Accra by the government addressed by information minister-designate Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, said President Nana Akufo-Addo and the Ghana armed forces will receive the body on behalf of the people of Ghana.

Annan died in Switzerland on August 18, 2018 after a short illness.

President Nana Akufo-Addo has put together a nine-member committee to plan the funeral and burial of the late UN Secretary-General.

Chaired by Ambassador Annan A. Cato, a diplomat and former secretary to Cabinet, the committee is tasked to organize the state funeral scheduled for September 13, 2018, in Accra, to honor the late UN chief.

The committee, of which Annan’s son is a member, was put together by President Akufo-Addo, in consultation with the late UN chief’s widow, Nane Maria Annan, as well as his children and family members.

Two weeks after Annan’s death, President Donald Trump has yet to make a statement, drawing criticism from the world on social media.

Annan served as the United Nation’s 7th Secretary General from 1997 to 2006. He left a celebrated but complicated legacy, surviving several calls for his resignation during controversial investigations.

During his leadership, Annan attempted to reshape the United Nations, which had been widely accused of being bureaucratic.

He worked to combat HIV, especially in Africa.  At the end of his term as UN Secretary-General, he founded the Kofi Annan Foundation in 2007 to work on international development. As UN-Arab League  Joint Special Representative for Syria, Anann in 2012 tried to find a resolution to the ongoing conflict there. He quit after becoming frustrated with the UN’s lack of progress with regard to conflict resolution. In September 2016, Annan was appointed to lead a UN commission to investigate the Rohingya crisis.

Annan’s first term as secretary general was capped by the Nobel Peace Prize. “In an organization that can hardly become more than its members permit, he has made clear that sovereignty cannot be a shield behind which member states conceal their violations,” the Nobel committee wrote.

Born with a twin sister on April 8, 1938, in Kumasi, Ghana, Annan’s father was a senior buyer of cocoa for the Anglo Dutch corporation Unilever. He named his son in the Ghanaian Akan language: Kofi means “born on Friday” and Atta means “twin.”

Annan won a Ford Foundation scholarship to Macalester College in St. Paul, MN. He received a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1961 and found work as a junior administrative and budget officer with the UN World Health Organization in Geneva. In 1972, Annan was awarded a master’s degree in management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In 1990, Annan gained attention during the start of the Persian Gulf War. On a special mission to Baghdad as chief of personnel, Annan helped persuade the Iraqis to release 900 UN employees and dependents held as hostages. Annan also organized an airlift of hundreds of thousands of Asian workers back to their original homes.

Egyptian diplomat and minister Boutros Boutros-Ghali pulled Annan out of the United Nations in 1992 and named him deputy chief of peacekeeping. The next year, Annan was promoted to chief of peacekeeping with the rank of undersecretary general, the highest in the UN civil service. Annan led a record expansion of peacekeeping to 75,000 troops in 19 missions.

Though criticized for failing to sound the alarm about the threat of impending genocide in Rwanda, Annan and his aides worked behind the scenes to prevent the widespread killing of hundreds of thousands of Rwandans in that country. Annan and his aides said the forces of ethnic hatred were too strong to temper.

This report was supplemented by the Washington Post and the GhanaWeb news service.

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