World leaders continue to pay homage to former United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, Kofi Annan who died Saturday in Switzerland at 80 years.
Annan, the first UN scribe from sub-Sahara Africa ended the second of his two terms in December 2006 after taking over the mantle from Egyptian Boutros Boutros-Ghali, who died in 2016.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who returned to the country from a 10-day trip to the United Kingdom yesterday, commiserated with the government and people of Ghana over Annan’s death.
Buhari in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said Annan’s origin and home will always be traced to Ghana, but his exceptional leadership roles, humanitarian spirit and contributions to global peace and development will remain indelible in the history of the entire world, especially the efforts to combat HIV/AIDS in Africa and launch of the UN Global Compact.
United Kingdom Prime Minister, Theresa May took to Twitter, saying: “Sad to hear of the death of Kofi Annan. A great leader and reformer of the UN, he made a huge contribution to making the world he has left a better place than the one he was born into. My thoughts and condolences are with his family.”
French President Emmanuel Macron also tweeted that “Kofi Annan, former UN secretary-General and Nobel Peace Prize, left this world overnight. France pays homage to him. We will never forget his calm and resolved gaze nor the strength of his fights.”
Incumbent UN Secretary-General António Guterres, in a statement on their website, described Annan as “a proud son of Africa,” adding, “Like so many, I was proud to call Kofi Annan a good friend and mentor. I was deeply honoured by his trust in selecting me to serve as UN High Commissioner for Refugees under his leadership.”
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa in a tweet described Annan as “a great leader and diplomat extraordinaire” who had advanced the African agenda within the United Nations and had “flown the flag for peace” around the world.
The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi noted that “the world has lost not only a great African diplomat and humanitarian but also a conscience keeper of international peace and security.”
The Togolese leader Faure Gnassingbe said “The death of the former Secretary-General of the UN Kofi Annan plunges us all into sadness. This worthy son of Africa was a valiant representative of our continent.”
Born in Kumasi, Annan joined the UN in 1962, working for the World Health Organization’s Geneva office. He went on to work in several capacities at the UN headquarters including serving as the Under-Secretary-General for peacekeeping between March 1992 and December 1996.
As the Secretary-General, Annan reformed the UN bureaucracy; worked to combat HIV, especially in Africa and launched the UN Global Compact.
Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo has ordered that flags be flown at half-mast for one week across the country to mourn the late diplomat.