Politics: How the world bid farewell to Kofi Annan, the first black African to become UN secretary-general

Annan’s widow, Swedish lawyer and artist Nane Maria Annan gave a moving tribute and described him as an extraordinary man.

World leaders, distinguished diplomats, African Presidents and ordinary Ghanaians alike today all converged at Accra, Ghana to bid farewell to Kofi Annan, one of the most distinguished diplomat and the first black African to hold the United Nations secretary-general post.

Mourners
dressed in traditional black and red attire filled the main hall of the Accra
Conference Centre, which sits about 4,000 people and others watched the funeral
proceedings on a giant screen in an auditorium just outside the hall.

The
former queen of the Netherlands, Princess Beatrix, and her daughter-in-law
Princess Mabel, who were close friends of Annan, were among the mourners.

 

As the
funeral proceeding went on, millions of mourners worldwide followed the
proceeding online and kept sending their condolences.

 

Speaking
at the funeral, current UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres said Annan was an
exceptional leader who saw the UN as a force for good.

"As we face the headwinds of our troubled and
turbulent times, let us always be inspired by the legacy of Kofi Annan
," Mr Guterres said.

"Our
world needs it now more than ever,"
he added.

 

Ghana's
President Nana Akufo-Addo described Annan as "one of the truly iconic
figures of modern times".

"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,"

he said.

The
Anglican bishop of Annan's home city of Kumasi in central Ghana, the Most
Reverend Daniel Sarfo, said Annan had fought the good fight, I have finished
the race, I have kept the faith.

"Today
history is being made in Ghana. One of our illustrious sons is lying here.

"But
we are grateful that God used him over the years to work for humanity, for
peace. Today, as he lies here, he has finished his work."

 

Annan's
nephew Kojo Amoo-Gottfried read a eulogy, describing how he had led a hunger
strike in his secondary school to protest against the quality of food in the
dining hall.

Annan’s
widow, Swedish lawyer and artist Nane Maria Annan gave a moving tribute and described how her husband was always excited to return home.

 

She
thanked Ghana for giving the world such an extraordinary man.

"His legacy would live on through his foundation
and through all of us,"
she
concluded.

Annan was
the UN secretary-general from 1997 to 2006, the first black African to hold the
world's top diplomatic post.

 

He was
awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001 for helping to revitalise the
international body, during a period that coincided with the Iraq War and the
HIV/Aids pandemic.

He died
on 18 August in Switzerland at the age of 80.

Source: Pluse ng

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