Kofi Annan Was An "Extraordinary Human Being" - Wife


Several African leaders and UN Secretary-General António Guterres are expected at the funeral on Thursday, organizers say.

Annan, who was a Nobel peace laureate and the world body's first leader from sub-Saharan Africa, died on August 18 after a brief illness.

Mr Akufo-Addo said history had vindicated Mr Annan, saying his "epic but unavailing effort to establish the supremacy of global law over the actions of even the world's greatest power won him the admiration of all right-thinking persons".

He said the last time he saw Mr. Annan was in March 2018, when the former global diplomat came to "inform me, much to my discomfiture, that he could no longer continue to serve as Chancellor of Ghana's premier university, the University of Ghana, Legon, since he had served the two terms permitted by the statutes of the university".

Now retired and back living in Ghana, he said Annan had taught him "the benefit of humility, the benefit of honesty, the benefit of decisiveness, and diplomacy from the grassroots".

"He made the whole world understand promoting equality between men and women is not an issue of women only, but it's an issue for sustainable development", she said.

"He has left an indelible landmark, which would be hard to fill", Prof Atsu Ayee remarked in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, after paying his respects to him at the start of the three-day State Funeral, at the Accra International Conference Centre.

"I'm grateful that we celebrated your 80th birthday in the fold of our handsome family and made wonderful memories, which will continue to give us strength", Nane, who married Kofi Annan in 1984, said in a calm voice.

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Ghana's President Nana Akufo-Addo called the funeral "a major event for our country" and described Annan as "one of the most illustrious people of this generation".

Annan, who was originally from Kumasi, the capital of the Ashanti region in southern Ghana, devoted four decades of his working life to the United Nations, and was known for bringing quiet charisma to the role.

Opera singer and United Nations goodwill ambassador Barbara Hendricks, who performed at his Nobel ceremony, on Thursday sang the civil rights anthem "Oh, Freedom".

Others described Annan as a father-figure and a source of national pride. "His was a life well-lived", President Akufo-Addo added.

He kept up his diplomatic work, taking mediation roles in Kenya and Syria, and more recently heading an advisory commission in Myanmar on the crisis in Rakhine state.

Mr Odinga travelled on Monday while Mr Lusaka arrived in the west Africa nation on Tuesday ahead of the funeral on Thursday.

Others include Princess Beatrix, the former queen of the Netherlands, and her daughter-in-law Princess Mabel, who were close friends of Annan.