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Opinion | Aug 25, 2018

Fitting Burial For A Heroes’ Hero

Fitting Burial For A Heroes’ Hero

Finally, a healthy agreement has been reached between the Akufo-Addo Presidency and the family of the late Mr. Kofi Atta Annan, to have the mortal remains of the globally celebrated diplomat and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate interred in his home country with full honors. We are also told that the first Black-African and the Seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations Organization (UN) will be laid to permanent rest at the newly created Ghana Armed Forces’ Cemetery at Burma Camp, in Accra, on Thursday, September 13, 2018 (See “Kofi Annan to Be Buried at Military Cemetery” 8/25/18).

It may be recalled that Mr. Annan’s death was reported in the wee hours of Saturday, August 18, 2018, in the Swiss capital of Bern, where the deceased had been domiciled for the past 10 years and where he also managed the globally targeted humanitarian foundation named after himself. His death occurred, reportedly, shortly after the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, Ghana, and the Macalester College-, Minnesota, educated alumnus returned from a long flight from South Africa, where he had participated in festivities marking the centenary birthday anniversary of the globally renowned and acclaimed and immortalized former President of Post-Apartheid South Africa, Mr. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

What I find to be characteristically laudable here is the rather infectiously quiet and dignified manner, strikingly reflective of the spirit of the deceased, in which the Akufo-Addo Presidency and the Annan Family reached an agreement to have the mortal remains of Mr. Annan interred among his peers and his own in the land of his birth. At the newly created Burma Camp Military Cemetery, the remains of the globally respected diplomat and peacemaker will be laid to rest alongside those of the recently deceased former Vice-President of the Democratic Republic of Ghana, Mr. Paa Kwesi BekoeAmissah-Arthur, and Mr. Joseph Henry Mensah, the former United Nations’ diplomat, Parliamentarian, Parliamentary Minority Leader and Ghana’s first Senior Minister in the government of former President John Agyekum-Kufuor.

According to President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the most fitting landmark for the burial of the “Global Peace Icon” is the Burma Camp Military Cemetery, where a special space has been earmarked for the interment of all of Ghana’s most distinguished statesmen and, I presume, stateswomen as well. Furthermore, in a predictable gesture of generosity, President Akufo-Addo is reported to have said the following to the members of the Annan Family who had met with him earlier on to discuss burial and funerary rites for Busumuru Kofi Atta Annan: “This is a State Funeral, so the responsibility for the arrangements is that of the Ghanaian State. Your bit is to mourn your kinsman, since you will not be saddled with any of the financial burdens involved in the organization of such a historic affair. All costs involved will be borne by the State of Ghana.”

Not many media organizations or institutions in Ghana reported this fact in the wake of his globally seismic passing, but Mr. Annan, during the last decade of his life, coeval with the management of his Kofi Annan Foundation in Bern, Switzerland, also served as the substantive Chancellor of Ghana’s premiere and flagship academy, the University of Ghana, Legon. He also served indefatigably as the Chairman of the committee of distinguished global personalities called The Elders, founded by former President Nelson Mandela. Indeed, the mutually agreed decision to have Mr. Annan buried at the Burma Camp Military Cemetery, instead of erecting his own lavish individual mausoleum, such as the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum or the John Evans Atta-Mills Mausoleum, both of them located about a couple of miles from each other in Accra, Ghana’s capital, strikingly reflects the much-remarked humility and self-effacing demeanor of Continental Africa’s greatest international diplomat of the Late Twentieth and Early Twenty-First centuries.

In naming him as co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001, together with the global peace-brokering organization which he headed for nearly a decade, and worked for, for some three decades, the Nobel Peace Prize Committee in Oslo, Norway, paid him a glowing tribute by recognizing Mr. Annan’s avid commitment to finding an antidote for both the total eradication and containment strategies for the rapid spread of the HIV Aids virus in Africa, in particular, and elsewhere around the globe. A fitting tribute, indeed, for a Heroes’ Hero.

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Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., © 2018

This author has authored 4401 publications on Modern Ghana.
Author column: KwameOkoampaAhoofeJr

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