Farewell Kofi An­nan

The for­mer UN sec­re­tary gen­eral hailed as an ad­vo­cate for hu­man­ity

The Witness - - NEWS -

AC­CRA — Ghana bade farewell to for­mer UN sec­re­tary gen­eral Kofi An­nan yes­ter­day in a state fu­neral at­tended by African lead­ers and in­ter­na­tional states­men who hailed his record as an ad­vo­cate for hu­man­ity and world peace.

An­nan, a Ghana­ian na­tional and Noble lau­re­ate, died in a Swiss hospi­tal last month at the age of 80. His body was flown to Ac­cra on Mon­day for burial in his home­land, where he is seen as a na­tional hero.

Around 6 000 mourn­ers packed the au­di­to­rium for yes­ter­days’s of­fi­cial ser­vice — the cli­max of a multi-day fu­neral cer­e­mony, which has seen his cof­fin, draped in the Ghana­ian na­tional colours, dis­played for pub­lic view­ing.

Cur­rent UN sec­re­tary gen­eral An­to­nio Guter­res was among the dig­ni­taries in at­ten­dance, along­side for­mer Ghana­ian pres­i­dents, the lead­ers of Ivory Coast, Liberia, Namibia and Niger, and the Crown Prince of Nor­way.

In an ad­dress, Guter­res hailed An­nan, who served as the sev­enth UN sec­re­tary­gen­eral be­tween 1997 and 2006, as an ex­cep­tional global leader with a deep faith in the role of the United Na­tions 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,” Guter­res said.

“Our world needs it now more than ever,” he said.

The cer­e­mony was pro­jected onto big screens out­side the au­di­to­rium for the crowds of mourn­ers that could not fit in­side the venue. Many com­muters in the cap­i­tal wore black as a sign of re­spect.

On Wed­nes­day, An­nan’s fam­ily and Ghana­ian dig­ni­taries were among hun­dreds to file past his cas­ket amid tra­di­tional rites by lo­cal chiefs and clan lead­ers.

An­nan, a Ghana­ian of Ashanti lin­eage, Mourn­ers blow horns and pay their re­spects as the cof­fin of for­mer UN sec­re­tary gen­eral Kofi An­nan, draped in the Ghana­ian flag, lies in state at the Ac­cra In­ter­na­tional Con­fer­ence Cen­tre in Ghana on Wed­nes­day. Ghana­ians paid their re­spects to An­nan, who died in Au­gust in Switzer­land at age 80, ahead of yes­ter­day’s state fu­neral. was granted a royal ti­tle by the Ashanti king in 2002. The el­ders said the rites, in­clud­ing pre­sent­ing him with cloth­ing and wa­ter, were nec­es­sary to clear the path for a peace­ful “travel” for their royal.

Some mourn­ers, like New York-based com­mu­nity mayor Delois Blakely, had flown to pay their re­spects.

He said: “I had known and worked with Kofi for close to 10 years.” — Reuters.

PHOTO: AP

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