News of the transition to glory of the former United Nations (UN), Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, who was committed to mother earth on Saturday, was received with shock and sadness. His passing has left an indelible gap that will be difficult to fill for a long time to come.
He died of pneumonia in the early hours of Saturday, August 18, in far away Switzerland, which family sources say, he contracted whiles in South Africa to celebrate the 100 years after the birth of iconic Nelson Mandela.
He was aged 80, having celebrated his 80th birthday on April 8.
Kofi Annan and his sister, Efua Atta, were born in the city of Kumasi in what was then Gold Coast in April 1938. The twins’ first names meant “born on a Friday” in Akan, while their shared middle name means “twin”.
After studying at university, first in the newly liberated Ghana, followed by Macalester College in the US, he got his first job with the UN in 1962.
The position – a budget officer with the World Health Organization (WHO) – gave no hint as to the career he was to have over the next four decades.
In 19997 at the age of 59, Mr Annan succeeded Boutros Boutros-Ghali as UN secretary-general, having worked for the UN for four decades.
Mr Annan inherited an organisation which, after 52 years, was on the brink of bankruptcy.
He set about reforming the institution, cutting 1,000 jobs out of 6,000 positions at the New York headquarters, while also trying to convince reluctant member states to take responsibility for the world’s many tragedies.
He also got the US to pay a backlog of debt it owed the UN.
In 2001, Mr Annan and the UN were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The citation lauded Mr Annan, the second UN Secretary General to be given the prize, as someone who had brought “new life to the organisation”.
Late Kofi Annan, was a man of peace, selfless, sincere and generous, he stood for truth and justice.
He was just not only an asset to Ghana, but to the global diplomatic community. His death has no doubt created a wide vacuum that will be difficult to fill.
We, therefore, join the comity of nations in sending our condolence to his family, the good people of Central region, where he hails from, and particularly Ghanaians.
His sterling qualities is worthy of emulation, and his sacrifice to humanity is what endeared him to all. We pray that God will grant his gentle soul eternal rest. Amen.