Saraki, Obasanjo join world leaders at Kofi Annan’s funeral

Sergio Conner
September 13, 2018

UN Secretary-General, António Guterres has paid glowing tribute to a man who once occupied the seat, Kofi Atta Annan.

A billboard featuring Kofi Annan is displayed at the entrance of Accra International Conference Centre in Accra.

Kofi Annan was both one-of-a-kind and one of us.

"He was an exceptional global leader", Mr. Guterres said in Accra Thursday during the burial service of Mr. Annan at the Accra International Conference Centre.

Mr Annan had taught him "the benefit of humility, the benefit of honesty, the benefit of decisiveness, and diplomacy from the grassroots", he told AFP. One of our illustrious sons is lying here.

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.

The wife of the late Nelson Mandela, Madam Graca Machel, said Kofi Annan was not owned by Ghana alone but by the entire African continent and the world.

He said the late South African President, Nelson Mandela, often referred to Kofi Annan as "My Leader".

The family later gathered around the casket containing the body of the former United Nations chief which was draped in the Ghana flag and prayed over it.

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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 neighboring Ivory Coast said he wanted to pay his last respects to "our great father".

The spokesperson for the patrilineal family, Georgina Darling Ofori, said they had lost a very important member of the family who can not be replaced.

Nane Maria Annan shed tears after filing past the body of her husband and exchanging pleasantries with his patrilineal family.

President Akufo-Addo led a delegation of government officials to welcome the convoy at the Kotoka International Airport.

The Asantehene stated that Busumuru was loved and respected by all who interacted and engaged with him and said the world was certainly poorer without Busumuru. "He played a major role for our country, he did his best", she said.

According to him, he was openly opposed to the Convention Peoples" Party (CPP) administration led by Dr Kwame Nkrumah, adding that he was known in school as "Dombo" which meant "opposition'.

Guterres concluded: "As we face the headwinds of our troubled and turbulent times, let us always be inspired by the legacy of Kofi Annan - and guided by the knowledge that he will continue speaking to us, urging us on towards the goals to which he dedicated his life and truly moved our world".

A private burial will follow the ceremony, with a 17-gun salute and full military honours.

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