Traditional rulers, diplomatic corps, dignitaries pay last respects to Kofi Annan

Mamponghene Daasebre Osei Bonsu and his delegation file past the casket

Mamponghene Daasebre Osei Bonsu and his delegation file past the casket

IT was a blend of culture and diplomacy at the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC) yesterday when traditional rulers and scores of dignitaries, including staff of the United Nations (UN) and heads of diplomatic missions in Ghana and abroad thronged the AICC to pay their last respects to the late Kofi Annan, a former Secretary General of the UN.

 

It was the traditional rulers, however, who staged a ‘takeover’ in the course of the day to perform their final rites to bid their kinsman farewell.

 

Others who also turned up to pay their last respects were current and former ministers of state, Members of Parliament, prominent citizens of Ghana, the clergy, leaders of political groupings, security capos and other identifiable groups.

 

Whiles the diplomats were mostly dressed in their black suits and ties, the traditional rulers wore their black and red clothes matched with their regalia to celebrate, and at the same time, mourn the career diplomat who died at age 80 at Berne, Switzerland, on August 18, 2018.

 

The mourners were welcomed to the funeral grounds by the Ghana Dance Ensemble and the Ashanti Kete Cultural Troupe with scintillating adowa and kete traditional dance moves.

 

On hand to receive the many mourners were the family of the celebrated global icon, the widow, Nane Maria Annan and their children.

 

Seated on both sides of the casket containing the remains of the late celebrated international civil servant, wrapped in the Ghana flag, were the paternal and maternal families from the Asante Kingdom and the Akwamu Traditional Area respectively.

 

Heavily represented at the funeral ground was the Otumfuor Osei Tutu, the Asantehene, by the Mamponghene, Dasebre Dr Osei Bonsu and the Akwamu stool, who all performed their traditional funeral rites to bid the late Annan goodbye.

 

Also represented was a delegation of the Okyenhene, Osagyefou Amoatia Ofori Panyin II, who donated a carton of schnapp, a carton of whisky and GH¢5,000 to support the funeral.

 

It was a great display of rich Akan culture as melodious hymns being sung by a choir group and brassband from the Ghana Armed Forces, before the arrival of the traditional delegations, seized to make way for sounds which blared from local drums like the fontonfrom – a talking drum – and other traditional musical instruments.

 

The Otumfuor Osei Tutu II, in his tribute, described the late diplomat as “a ready source of inspiration, a dogged advocate and an unwavering champion of peace, security, development, human rights, rule of law and a consummate mediator.”

 

According to the Asantehene, the late Kofi Annan was a “leader and a moral compass of the world, an embodiment of peace and a global icon who never forgot his roots.”

 

He said Ghana had lost one of its great servants and bright spot who had brought pride to the country and prayed that God granted his soul a peaceful rest.

 

Earlier in the day, security chiefs from the Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), an international security facility named after him for his contribution to world peace, saluted at the feet of his locked casket as their last respect.

 

Also noted were the Mfamtsipim Old Boys Association (MOBA) who formed a human ring around the casket and sung passionately their school anthem to bid their former mate farewell.

 

Some of the notable dignitaries were the minister of Sanitation, Madam Cecilia Dapaah, Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, former CHRAJ boss, Justice Emile Short, former Chief of Staff, KojoMpiani, former Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Kwesi Quartey and Kenyan opposition Leader, Raila Odinga.

 

Kofi Annan was the seventh Secretary General of the UN and served in that capacity between January 1997 and December 2006.

 

Succeeded by a Swedish lawyer wife, Nane Maria Annan and three children, the 2001 co-recipient of the Noble Peace Price would be buried today at the Military Cemetery here in Accra with full military honours and a 17-Gun salute.

 BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI 

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