Africa Liberal Network's Member Party in Ghana Remembers Kofi Annan
THE FRIEDRICH NAUMANN FOUNDATION FOR FREEDOM HELD A QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSION WITH COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR OF THE PROGRESSIVE PEOPLE'S PARTY OF GHANA ON THE RECENT PASSING OF FORMER SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS, KOFI ANNAN. KOFI ANNAN PASSED AWAY ON 18 AUGUST 2018 AT THE AGE OF 80 AFTER A SHORT ILLNESS. THE PROGRESSIVE PEOPLE'S PARTY IS A MEMBER OF THE AFRICA LIBERAL NETWORK, A PARTNER ORGANISATION OF THE FRIEDRICH NAUMANN FOUNDATION FOR FREEDOM.
How has the response been in Ghana on the passing of former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan?
The response has been one of a bolt from the blue because many people in Ghana never heard he was sick nor did Mr Annan show any sign of ill health. Ghanaians from all walks of life, including Blackstar players have taken to their social media handles to issue statements to eulogize Mr Annan and commiserate with the family. Many Ghanaians believe the world has lost a distinguished leader who was incomparable in all respects. The President of Ghana, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo has directed that, Ghana’s national flag should fly at half-mast across the country and in all of Ghana’s diplomatic missions across the world, from Monday, 20th August, 2018, for one week.
What was the importance of Kofi Annan for Africa when it comes to human rights?
He demonstrated true servant and selfless leadership, always wishing the best for the world. He was a global statesman and a deeply committed internationalist who fought throughout his life for a fairer and more peaceful world. During his distinguished career and leadership of the United Nations he was an ardent champion of peace, sustainable development, human rights and the rule of law. In his address to the Commission on Human Rights on 7th April 2004 in Geneva for example, he made it clear that the United Nations must acknowledge its responsibility of not having done more to protect the 800,000 defenseless men, women and children who perished in Rwanda. To quote one striking statement he made, he said “If there is one legacy I would most wish to leave to my successors, it is an Organization both better equipped to prevent genocide, and able to act decisively to stop it when prevention fails.” He presided over the establishment of a special advisor for the prevention of genocide, as well as a special representative for children and minorities. He spearheaded the establishment of the Human Rights Council. He also dealt with issues of sexual abuse and exploitation within UN peacekeeping, instituting a Zero-Tolerance Policy. He was a staunch supporter of the International Criminal Court. His personal interventions following the 2007 election in Kenya and his recommendation that Myanmar should review its 1982 citizenship law, which discriminates against the Rohingya Muslim population cannot be overemphasised.
In your opinion, was Kofi Annan more of a Ghanaian icon or more of an African icon and why?
Although he was a Ghanaian, his departure has created grief not only for Ghana, but Africa and the World at large. He was a global icon, a true inspiration to millions around the world, and a committed man of peace and class. As the first Black African from sub-Saharan Africa to serve as the United Nations Secretary-General, he was a legend of peace, leadership and governance. His love and stance on affairs of the youth and children are worth emulating by all leaders across the world. He demonstrated through his exploits with the UN that humanity has the ability to make development sustainable to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. He was Africa to the whole world and Africa was him. He represented every good thing the world needs to know about Africa. He put Africa on the international map and was one of the faces of Africa who fought for peace and reconciliation. He proved to the world that an African can lead, manage, negotiate and save others.
Paa Kow Ackon
Paa Kow Ackon is the Communications Director of Progressive People's Party. The Progressive People's Party is a member of the Africa Liberal Network.