Ugandan parliament to pay tribute to Kofi Annan

By Moses Walubiri

“I don’t know when we [Africa] shall again get another UN Secretary General," Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga says.

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PIC: A billboard featuring Kofi Annan is displayed at the entrance of Accra International Conference Centre in Accra. (AFP)


KAMPALA - Ugandan lawmakers will pay tribute to former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, who passed away last month at the age of 80.

Annan, who was a Nobel peace laureate and the world body's first leader from sub-Saharan Africa, died on August 18 after a brief illness.

The Speaker of Uganda's Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, told MPs that the motion paying tribute to the fallen Ghanaian diplomat will be extracted and copies sent to the government of Ghana through its Kampala embassy and the United Nations – an organisation Kofi Annan served for decades.

“I don’t know when we [Africa] shall again get another UN secretary general,” Kadaga said.

Born in Kumasi Ghana on April 8, 1938, Annan rose through the ranks of the UN, serving as the seventh UN Secretary General from January 1997 to December 2006.

In 2001, he and the UN were co-recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize.
In his retirement, despite being at the forefront of diffusing volatile situations in Africa as a member of the Elders Club, his detractors have always blamed him for simply fiddling his fingers as the 1994 genocide in Rwanda raged.

However, his other foray as an arbiter between warring factions in Kenya in the wake of the 2007 presidential polls helped pour olive oil on troubled waters in the East African country.

His intervention resulted into a power-sharing agreement between then-President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga.

Annan will be buried Thursday at a military cemetery in Accra, Ghana following a three-day national mourning.

Kofi Annan's death was felt across the continent and the world at large. Here, these Kenyan men read a local newspaper with the cover dedicated to the former UN secretary general's legacy last month in the suburb of Huruma in Nairobi




Meanwhile, on Monday, the plane carrying the remains of late Ghanaian diplomat taxied on the tarmac of Kotoka International Airport in Accra




His coffin, carried by Ghanaian soldiers, was draped with a United Nations flag




People stood near the portrait of Kofi Annan upon the arrival of his remains at the Kotoka International Airport




The widow of Annan, Nane Maria Annan (4th from left) sat with guests and officials at the airport




The casket was then covered with the Ghanaian flag 




President of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo and his wife Rebecca Akufo-Addo arrived on the tarmac at the Kotoka International Airport prior to the arrival of the remains of Annan




Ghanaians bid farewell to Kofi Annan

(By AFP)

Ghanaian militaries guard the coffin of Kofi Annan at Accra International Conference Centre in Accra


ACCRA - A steady stream of mourners on Tuesday paid their respects to the former UN secretary general Kofi Annan as he lay in state in the capital of his native Ghana.

The diplomat's body was flown back from Switzerland on Monday ahead of a state funeral and private burial in Accra on Thursday.

Nobel peace laureate Annan, who was the world body's first leader from sub-Saharan Africa, died on August 18 after a brief illness. He was 80.

Draped in Ghana's red, green and gold flag, his coffin was guarded by senior military officers in ceremonial uniform at the Accra International Conference Centre.

There were traditional dances and a choir sang hymns as the public filed past, taking their chance to say a proud farewell to one of the country's most famous sons.

Fritz Kitcher, who spent his career working in human rights for the United Nations in Geneva, said he had watched Annan rise through the ranks.

Now retired and back living in Ghana, he said Annan had taught him "the benefit of humility, the benefit of honesty, the benefit of decisiveness, and diplomacy from the grassroots".

Annan's role as the UN's first black African leader was "an honour for Ghana", Kitcher said.


People pay their last respects to the former secretary general of United Nations


'He lifted Africa'

"It was marvellous in our eyes, it was one of these things that we can only dream... he lifted Africa and showed that we are also able to do great things," he told AFP.

Jennifer Asuako, a programme analyst with the UN in Ghana, said Annan was widely respected, humble and an inspiration to his colleagues.

She pledged to "keep the torch burning" on gender equality, an area where he showed great dedication.

"He made the whole world understand promoting equality between men and women is not an issue of women only, but it's an issue for sustainable development," she said.

"There are a lot of Ghanaians who can take on the mantle and do similar, like he did, but not like him because he is a unique individual." 



Billboards featuring Kofi Annan are displayed at the entrance of Accra International Conference Centre where Annan's casket lay 


'Our great father'

Most of those queuing to pay their respects wore black and red mourning clothes, passing under large posters of the late diplomat to the sound of pulsating drums.

Cleaner Akwo Kwame Johnson, from neighbouring Ivory Coast said he wanted to pay his last respects to "our great father".

Whenever he saw Annan in the news, Johnson said he felt like he was watching a family member.

"He was a president to all the world," he added.

Pensioner Joyce Atiase said she was mourning the loss of a "great man". "We all loved him. He played a major role for our country, he did his best," she said.

Anyekai Oddoye, who works in Ghana's cocoa sector, said he whispered a prayer as he passed his coffin and wished him well.

"Everyone respects him," she said, adding that the state honours were no more than he deserved.

"It shows the extent of how we hold him up here," she added.

Scores of world leaders past and present, as well as royalty, are expected in Accra for Annan's funeral on Thursday.

A private burial service will then be held in the city's military cemetery.



An artist paints a portrait of Kofi Annan at the entrance of Accra International Conference Centre




Fare thee well, Kofi Annan