World Leaders Mourn Kofi Annan


    Vanessa Obioha

    Tributes are pouring in for former former United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, who died in a hospital in Bern, Switzerland on Saturday.

    The Elders, an elite group of former leaders founded by former South African President Nelson Mandela, said they were “shocked and deeply saddened” by the death of their colleague and chair Kofi Annan at age 80 after a short illness.

    In a statement, The Elders described the former UN secretary-general and Nobel Peace Prize winner as “a voice of great authority and wisdom in public and private.”
    UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said, “In many ways, Kofi Annan was the United Nations. He rose through the ranks to lead the organisation into the new millennium with matchless dignity and determination.”

    Former South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu described Annan as a man of integrity.

    “He represented our continent and the world with enormous graciousness, integrity and distinction.”

    UK Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn remembered him as a true leader who dedicated his life to building a more just and peaceful world.

    “His efforts in support of conflict resolution and human rights will be remembered. He looked for a peaceful path when others looked for war.”

    The President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, while expressing his condolences in a series of tweets, extolled the achievements of his countryman.

    “He brought considerable renown to our country by this position and through his conduct and comportment in the global arena. He was an ardent believer in the capacity of the Ghanaian to chart his or her own course onto the path of progress and prosperity,” Akufo-Addo said.

    Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, also tweeted that “The world has lost not only a great African diplomat and humanitarian but also a conscience keeper of international peace and security.”

    President of France, Emmanuel Macron, in his own tribute said he would never forget Annan’s calm and unresolved gaze, nor the strength of his fights.

    British Prime Minister Theresa May tweeted that the late diplomat “made a huge contribution to making the world he has left a better place than the one he was born into.”

    “He was a good friend whom I saw only weeks ago,” former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said.

    The Chairman of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, described him as a great man and a dear brother.

    “He was warm, compassionate & intelligent, exuding dignity & grace,” said the new leader of Amnesty International, Kumi Naidoo.

    “International leader, wise mentor, valuable adviser, good friend, role model,” UN refugee chief Filippo Grandi said, adding, “We at UNHCR — and millions of others around the world — will miss him very much.”

    In his tribute, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said Annan was “a great leader and diplomat extraordinaire” who had advanced the African agenda within the United Nations and had “flown the flag for peace” around the world.
    “He lived and worked for global peace, security and sustainable development in very challenging times. A proud son of Ghana and Africa,” said former Ghanaian President John Mahama.