President Akufo-Addo has said no amount of words will be adequate to capture the fullness of the personality of the late Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan.
He was speaking Thursday at a state funeral of the former UN chief who died on August 18, 2018, in Switzerland after a short illness.
In a glowing tribute on behalf of himself and the country, President Akufo-Addo said Annan, as the seventh and first black African Secretary-General of the United Nations, brought considerable renown to Ghana.
“Indeed, the outpouring of tribute from the world over is an accurate measure of the man, the man who gave his life to making peace where there was conflict, defending the voiceless who were powerless, to promoting virtue where there was evil,” said President Akufo-Addo said.
He added: “Despite the unjustified attacks on him, trying to fix him with responsibility of the genocide in Rwanda and Srebrenica, when he was head of UN Peace Operations, he never lost his moral compass as he showed, when he stood up to the might of the United States of America when she was embarking on her ill-fated intervention in Iraq.
“Kofi Annan’s epic but unavailing effort to establish the supremacy of international law over the actions of even the world’s greatest power won him the admiration of all right-thinking person. He’s been vindicated by his strength.”
“United Nations was Kofi Annan” – Secretary-General
On his part, the Secretary-General of the United Nations António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres said: “Kofi Annan was the United Nations and the United Nations was Kofi Annan.”
Describing his predecessor as an exceptional global leader and someone virtually anyone in the world could see themselves in,” Guterres said, “those on the far reaches of poverty, conflict and despair always found in him an ally.”
According to him, Kofi Annan was courageous, speaking truth to power whilst subjecting himself to intense self-scrutiny and an enormous “mystical sense of the United Nations as a “force for good in the world of ills.”
The widow of former South African President Nelson Mandela, Graca Machel said would forever remain as the only Secretary-General of the United Nations—an intergovernmental organization tasked to promote international co-operation and to create and maintain international order.
A replacement for the ineffective League of Nations, the organization was established on 24 October 1945 after World War II with the aim of preventing another such conflict.
“He will be remembered in my view as the Secretary-General of the UN. I think there will be very few who will remember other Secretaries-General and I’m not being diplomatic here, but he is really, the one all people in the world when they say, the Secretary-General of the UN—it’s the face of Kofi Annan,” said Graca Machel.
“It is going to be very difficult to find someone who can step in his shoes,” she added.