Kofi Annan's death; Ghana flag to fly at half-mast for one week

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

Ghana’s national flag is to fly at half-mast across the country and in all of Ghana’s diplomatic missions across the world, from Monday, August 20, 2018, for one week in honour of Kofi Annan, the former United Nations Secretary-General who died Saturday morning, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has directed.

Mr Kofi Annan, died at age 80, Saturday morning, the Annan family and Kofi Annan Foundation announced.

He died in Switzerland after a short illness, surrounded by his wife Nane Maria and children.

'Kofi Annan died peacefully in his sleep'

In a tribute mourning the Ghanaian international diplomat, President Akufo-Addo said: "I am, however, comforted by the information, after speaking to Nane Maria, that he died peacefully in his sleep." 

Read also: Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General dies: Tributes mourn 'great leader'

President Akufo-Addo wrote: "The Government and people of Ghana, First Lady Rebecca and I are deeply saddened by the news of the death, in Berne, Switzerland, of one of our greatest compatriots, Mr. Kofi Annan."

"I extend, on behalf of the entire Ghanaian nation, our sincere, heartfelt condolences to his beloved widow, Nane Maria, and to his devoted children, Ama, Kojo and Nina, on this great loss. I am, however, comforted by the information, after speaking to Nane Maria, that he died peacefully in his sleep."

President Akufo-Addo added: "Consummate international diplomat and highly respected former Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Kofi Annan was the first from sub-Saharan Africa to occupy this exalted position.

"He brought considerable renown to our country by this position and through his conduct and comportment in the global arena. He was an ardent believer in the capacity of the Ghanaian to chart his or her own course onto the path of progress and prosperity. Undoubtedly, he excelled in the various undertakings of his life, leaving in his trail most pleasant memories.

"I have directed that, in his honour, Ghana’s national flag will fly at half-mast across the country and in all of Ghana’s diplomatic missions across the world, from Monday, 20th August, 2018, for one week.
was a life well-lived.

"Rest in perfect peace, Kofi. You have earned it. God bless," President Akufo-Addo added.

Other tributes

Mr Annan recently visited South Africa and returned to Switzerland for medical care.

In a tweet, the UN Migration body said: "Today we mourn the loss of a great man, a leader, and a visionary."

It went on: "A life well lived. A life worth celebrating."

The Annan family and Kofi Annan Foundation posted on Facebook: "It is with immense sadness that the Annan family and the Kofi Annan Foundation announce that Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations and Nobel Peace Laureate, passed away peacefully on Saturday 18th August after a short illness. His wife Nane and their children Ama, Kojo and Nina were by his side during his last days."

"Kofi Annan was a global statesman and a deeply committed internationalist who fought throughout his life for a fairer and more peaceful world. During his distinguished career and leadership of the United Nations he was an ardent champion of peace, sustainable development, human rights and the rule of law," the post added.

It continued: "Wherever there was suffering or need, he reached out and touched many people with his deep compassion and empathy. He selflessly placed others first, radiating genuine kindness, warmth and brilliance in all he did. He will be greatly missed by so many around the world, as well as his staff at the Foundation and his many former colleagues in the United Nations system. He will remain in our hearts forever."

The Annan family requested for "privacy at this time of mourning. Arrangements to celebrate his remarkable life will be announced later," the message said.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner was born in Kumasi, Ghana in 1938 and served as the 7th UN Secretary-General, from 1997 to 2006, and was the first to rise from within the ranks of the United Nations staff.

He had been a member of The Elders, a group of global leaders working for human rights since it was founded in 2007. In 2013, he became its chairman.

Mr Annan was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with the United Nations in 2001 "for their work for a better organised and more peaceful world."

In 2002, the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, gave him the highest honour in Asanteman, and conferred the rare title of "Busumuru" on Kofi Annan in recognition of his service to humanity.

"I and the entire Ashanti state have decided to add your name to the Busumuru title, because of your selflessness and contributions to humanity, and promotion of peace throughout the world," Otumfuo Osei Tutu II declared when he placed a symbolic gold necklace around Annan's neck to the sound of traditional drumming.

"Busumuru" is the name of the golden sword used by the Asantehene to swear allegiance to the Ashanti kingdom at his coronation.

Mr Annan was married with three children.