By MUHAMMED S. BAH
One of the world’s most influential diplomats and charismatic champion of peace, Kofi Annan, has died on Saturday morning August 18th 2018 in Switzerland, after a brief illness. The former United Nations (UN) Secretary-General’s death, was reported by various international media in the early hours of Saturday morning, including the official UN website.
Mr. Annan’s death at the age of 80, has prompted world leaders and Governments to send condolences to the world body where he had served for ten years as a master diplomat, and to his family and Government of his country of origin, Ghana. Current UN Secretary General António Guterres, commenting the UN official site said, Mr. Annan was a guiding force for good; that it was with profound sadness that the world learned of his passing; that Mr. Anan has never stopped working to give life to the values of the United Nations Charter, in these turbulent and trying times that the world is going through and that his legacy will remain a true inspiration for humankind.
Gambian President Adama Barrow and the entire people of the Gambia, extended condolences to the demise of Mr. Koffi Annan. “My thoughts and prayers are with Ghana, Africa and the whole world, on the demise of one of Africa’s greatest,” President Barrow said.
‘‘Kofi Annan was the leader for global peace, and had made Africa proud for all the right reasons.
He will be remembered for his relentless search for global peace and security. In the face of much difficulty and conflict, Africa and the rest of the world, looked up to him for inspiration and hope,’’ President Barrow said.
The President continued, that Mr. Annan demonstrated what he refers to as “utmost commitment to peace, and a firm belief in Africa and Africa’s unity, stability and prosperity; that he stood by the Gambian people when the country was undergoing a difficult period in 2016/17. “His passing is a great loss for the whole of humanity,” President Barrow concluded.
Kofi Annan served as UN Secretary General from 1997 to 2006. He was born in Kumasi, in central Ghana, on April 8, 1938. Kofi and his twin sister Efua, shared the same middle name “Atta”, which means “twin” in the Akan language. He is the first African to head the UN organization and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He brought a lot of reform to the UN and carried out projects to combat HIV, especially in Africa to name a few.
After he left the UN, he founded the Kofi Annan Foundation in 2007, to work on international development, strengthen ties between countries and strove to achieve a fairer and more secure world. He introduced the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in year 2000, to help eradicate poverty. In 2001, Mr. Annan won the Nobel peace prize for his reforms in the UN, as well as giving priority to human rights. Some of his popular quotes include:
– “We need to keep hope alive ad strive to do better”;
– “We may have different religions, different languages, different coloured skin, but we all belong to one human race”;
– “The world is not ours to keep. We hold it in trust for future generations”;
– “Knowledge is power, Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family”.
This medium takes the opportunity to extend condolence to the family he left behind first and foremost and to the Government and people of Ghana and the whole African continent, for loosing such and illustrious son to the evil hands of death. Sleep well Mr. Annan.