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25.01.2007 General News


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It is said that a prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house, but in the case of Busumuru Kofi Annan, surely this Biblical saying has been proved wrong.

The image of the diversity of the crowds and the ecstatic welcome that awaited him at the Kotoka International Airport on Tuesday night is one that will long be remembered. The fact that so many people took the trouble to go to the airport is a reflection of how highly he is esteemed.

This was also underscored by the presence at the Castle yesterday of Professor John Evans Atta-Mills of the main opposition party, the National Democratic Congress.

Clearly, Mr. Annan is a prophet with honour internationally as well as in his own country.

The spontaneous joy was reminiscent of what the mood of the country was during the Black Stars triumphs at the World Cup last year. Even this comparison speaks volumes about the kind of festive atmosphere that gripped Accra on Tuesday.

And it is remarkable that even in the Ghanaian media, which in recent times has unfortunately acquired the unsavoury reputation of practising the 'terrorism of the media', there has not been even a whisper against Mr. Annan.

It is also interesting that everybody seems to be interested in his future plans. Ever since the retirement of Mr. Annan as Secretary-General of the UN was announced, the billion-cedi question has been what he will do after retirement.

Yesterday he answered that question by reiterating what he had earlier hinted at a forum in Accra last year, that he intends to go into agriculture.

The issue of whether the Annans will be making Ghana their home when they could live anywhere else in the world, has also been the focus of much public debate.

But in the main, media commentary has focused on whether Mr Annan will be engaging in local politics or not. Many commentators have been advising that Mr. Annan should not have anything to do with any of the political parties; he should not be identified with any of them. The fear is that local politics might taint him with its problems and divisiveness.

The view of many is that while Mr. Annan should stay out of politics, he should use his background and unequalled experience as virtually the ‘President of the world’ for a good ten years to help this country achieve its aspirations.

But one wonders if a man of Busumuru Annan’s calibre needs any advice on Ghanaian politics or whether he should have any role in Ghana’s political arena!

Anyhow, his statement at the Castle yesterday, that he intends to go into farming, to help launch Africa’s Green Revolution, has answered very diplomatically those anxious to know his political direction.

However, there is also another school of thought that even if Mr. Annan did nothing at all but just sat on his verandah every day, deservedly taking things easy after his hectic life at the UN, his mere presence in Ghana would still serve as an eloquent testimony of his belief in Ghana.

His presence in any part of Ghana where he and his wife choose to settle would still serve as a source of unrivalled inspiration and hope to all Ghanaians.

Notably, it should make an impression on the Ghanaians in the Diaspora who are being invited back home to help in nation-building, as well as the youth who all seem to think that life is only worth living if one is outside Ghana.