Ghana’s illustrious son Kofi Annan will be buried today, September 13, after a state funeral attended by world leaders past and present, traditional authorities among others.
The funeral service begins at 8.30am at the Accra International Conference Centre.
Annan led the UN from 1997 to 2006 as the first black African to occupy the secretary general position. He died on August 18 aged 80 at his home in Switzerland after a short illness.
The current head of the world body, Antonio Gutteres, is expected to attend the funeral, which will be followed by a private burial at the capital’s military ceremony.
Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected in Ghana Thursday, September 13, to attend the final funeral service of the late former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
He will be in the company of a host of other African heads of state including Alassane Dramane Ouattara of Ivory Coast, George Weah of Liberia, Hage Geingob of Namibia, Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger among others, Information Minister designate Kojo Oppong Nkrumah stated. Also, a former head of state of Germany will be leading the German delegation to the event with Switzerland and Finland sending former heads of state.
Ordinary Ghanaians and dignitaries have paid their respects to Annan since his coffin was returned from Geneva and received with full honours on Monday.
Thousands of people have filed past his coffin, which was draped in the red, green and gold national flag.
Born in Kumasi, the capital of Ghana’s Ashanti region, Annan devoted four decades of his working life to the UN, and was known for projecting quiet charisma to the role.
He was widely credited for raising the world body’s profile in global politics during his two terms of office, which included challenges including wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Annan was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001, as the world was reeling from the September 11 terror attacks in the United States, jointly with the UN “for their work for a better organised and more peaceful world”.
He left the post as one of the most popular — and recognisable — UN leaders ever, and was considered a “diplomatic rock star” in international diplomatic circles.
He kept up his diplomatic work, taking mediation roles in Kenya and Syria, and more recently heading an advisory commission in Myanmar on the crisis in Rakhine state.
He acted as a negotiator between the government and the opposition in Kenya after post-election violence at the end of 2007, leading to the formation of the Grand Coalition government.
Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga will be at Thursday’s ceremony, his office said.
Others attending include Princess Beatrix, the former queen of the Netherlands, and her daughter-in-law Princess Mabel, who were close friends with Annan.
Annan is survived by his wife Nane Maria, children and grandchildren.
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