Ghana Releases Plan For Kofi Annan State Funeral

by Bamidele Ogunberu Posted on August 30th, 2018

Accra, Ghana : The government of Ghana has announced the schedule of activities for the funeral and interment rites of the late former UN Secretary General, Dr. Kofi Annan.

This announcement was made at a Press Briefing addressed by the Minister of Information designate, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah on the 29th of August 2018 at the Ministry of Information.

According to the minister, the remains of the late Dr. Kofi Annan is set to arrive at the Accra International Airport on the 10th of September 2018 by 4pm.

The remains which will be accompanied by his wife, children and some UN officials will be received with a brief ceremony led by President Akufo- Addo and the Ghana Armed Forces.

Mr Oppong Nkrumah announced Tuesday 11 September 2018 as the date set for the general public to file past the mortal remains of the late Dr. Kofi Annan.

“There will be filing past and paying of last respects by members of the General Public at the Accra International Conference Centre. This will be between 10 am and 4 pm. The general public is encouraged to come and pay their last respects to this illustrious son of Ghana,” he said.

He further stated that Wednesday, September 12, 2018, is slated for filing past and paying of last respects by Dignitaries which include recognised groups, Chiefs. Members of Parliament and Ministers of State.

The burial service for Dr. Annan is set to take place on Thursday13 September at the Accra International Conference Centre at 9am. According to the Minister, the service will see the attendance of UN officials, Heads of State, Diplomatic delegations and the general public. This will be followed by a private burial at midday at the Military Cemetery with full military honours and 17 gun salutes.

According to government sources, the late Dr. Annan’s personal statement stressed on a simple and solemn final ceremony void of any frills.

“Mr. Annan’s personal testament requested a simple, solemn final set of activities. And so the state, while it wishes to give him a befitting burial, will accommodate his wishes as well,” the deputy minister said.

Kofi Annan passed on at a hospital in Bern, Switzerland, on August 18 after a short illness.

EARLIER : UN Honors Kofi Annan With Memorial Service

New York City, USA : The United Nations in New York paid tribute to late Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who passed away on Saturday as  he world mourns the Ghanaian diplomat often described as the heart and soul of the organization.

A solemn wreath-laying ceremony kicked off the day at UN headquarters, where current Secretary-General Antonio Guterres remembered the late statesman, diplomat, and gentleman as both a friend and mentor and a guiding force for good.

“His most defining features were his humanity and solidarity with those in need,” said Guterres to the diplomats and UN staff members who attended the event. He put people at the center of the work of the United Nations, and was able to turn compassion into action across the UN system.”

Annan began his career with the United Nations in 1962, when he was just 24 years old. Over 35 years, he rose through its ranks to the highest position, serving as secretary-general between 1997 and 2006.

Guterres was picked by Annan as UN High Commissioner for Refugees in 2005 before he himself became UN secretary-general in 2017.

“I remember the first time I met him,” said UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric, who joined Annan’s team in 2005.

“My boss at the time Fred Eckhard introduced me to him quickly as he was coming into the building, and then I remember feeling overwhelmed by the fact that this man — a very powerful man — just took a few minutes to meet his junior staff member, and from that moment on I felt very much at home and at ease with him.”

It was that humility and approachability that endeared him within the walls of the UN, and his gentle diplomacy that inspired the world.

“I think people will remember him for the enormous amount of reform that we saw during his tenure as secretary-general,” said Natalie Samarasinghe, Executive Director of the United Nations Association in the United Kingdom.

“The creation of the Human Rights Council, of the Peacebuilding Commission, the adoption of what we now consider flagship initiatives of the UN — the Millennium Development Goals, most prominently.“

But Annan’s tenure also saw some of the darkest moments in UN history. The failure of the UN to prevent genocides in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s had permanently scarred the organization.

“Kofi Annan was not perfect,” according to Louis Charbonneau, UN Director for Human Rights Watch in New York, and previously the UN bureau chief for Reuters. “And in his period before he became secretary-general in 1997 — before that he was the Under-Secretary-General for peacekeeping — and during that time, the Rwanda situation happened.”

“They had information the genocide was unfolding. They had information from the field and they did not right the alarm bells and run to the Security Council,” said Charbonneau.

Those who knew Annan say he had taken these failures very personally, and tried to atone for them, especially for Rwanda.

After leaving the post of secretary-general, Annan continued his humanitarian and peacemaking work, brokering a peace deal in Kenya, serving as the UN-Arab League envoy to Syria, and leading an advisory commission to investigate Myanmar’s Rohingya crisis.

Described as a true voice for the voiceless, current UN chief Guterres said Annan did not shy away from the most challenging issues but worked creatively to bridge differences and protect the most vulnerable.

“In these times of growing political divides and intractable conflicts, we need the peacemaking spirit of Kofi Annan more than ever.”

Ghana also opened a book of condolence in Accra in honor of Kofi Annan. People from all walks of life have been trooping to the Accra International Conference Center (AICC) to sign the book of condolence opened here on Wednesday in honor of Kofi Annan.

Among the dignitaries who paid tribute to the late international statesman was Anne-Claire Dufay, Country Representative of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

“We are all saddened by the departing of Hon. Kofi Annan, former Secretary General. We have been truly inspired by Kofi Annan. I personally met him in East Timor in the year 2000 after the conflict,” the UNICEF official stated.

She recalled the visit by the late former Secretary General where he really inspired the UN staff with his words related to peace and human rights.

“So we would like to extend our deepest condolences to his wife and his family and friends. He will continue to inspire all of us at the United Nations and the UNICEF,” she added.

The Memory Table created for the condolence book is decorated in flowers with the flag of Ghana set at half mast behind it and photos of the late octogenarian.

Also paying tribute to Kofi Annan was Ghana’s Minister for Development Planning George Gyan-Barfuor and clergyman Lawrence Tetteh.

“Saturday we heard about the demise of Kofi Annan. It’s a big blow not only to Ghana but also to the international community because someone who has ascended to the throne of Secretary-General of the UN is not a small achievement,” Ghanaian journalist, Henry Martinson told Xinhua.

“What we should be doing is to remember some of his legacies,” Martinson urged.

The book of condolence will remain open till next Wednesday to allow the general public to pay tributes to Kofi Annan.

President Nana Akufo-Addo signed the book of condolence opened in Kofi Annan’s family house on Sunday.

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Bamidele Ogunberu

Bamidele Ogunberu

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