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GHANA MOURNS KOFI ANNAN

General News

Ghanaians from all walks of life yesterday began paying their last respect to former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, who passed on in Switzerland on August 18, 2018, after a short illness.

Ghanaians from all walks of life yesterday began paying their last respect to former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, who passed on in Switzerland on August 18, 2018, after a short illness.

 

The body of late Ghanaian diplomat arrived in Ghana on Monday for onward funeral service and state burial.

The mortal remains of Mr Annan was received at the Kotoka International Airport by President Nana Akufo-Addo and other state officials draped in the national colours of Ghana.

The three-day mourning for Mr Annan began yesterday with members of the public given the opportunity to file past the body laid in state at the International Conference Centre.

                                                                                                           Body covered

However, some sympathizers and mourners who thronged to the venue to pay their respect expressed disappointment that they could not see the body of the late diplomat and accordingly pay their last respect.

"It was my desire to see the lifeless body of Mr Annan at least for the last time as he embarks on his final journey,” one mourner expressed.

However, Deputy Information Minister Pius Enam Hadzide explained in an interview that Mr. Annan's wish was to have a modest funeral, adding that was among the reasons why the casket was covered.

“There are high-profile funerals that I’ve attended that I’ve seen the casket covered even in this country and, so, it’s not a major problem; the important thing is that you see the family sitting in state, and, so, the man Kofi Annan himself is a modest person, and, so, he doesn’t want a lot of flamboyance around the funeral with a lot of frills,” he said.

He admitted that although it was a state funeral, “we think that it is still important that we respect his wishes of keeping it a little modest, a little soft and so far, it’s been very good.”

Mr Hadzide again said with the calibre of person Mr Annan was when alive, the sort of state burial given him was in the right direction.

“In any case, the casket is wrapped in the national flag, and, so, that is what is critical to us and maybe it is the design that makes it difficult for you to want to open it up and so on and so forth,” he stated.

                                                                                                    Dignitaries pay respect

Today, it will be the turn of dignitaries including recognized groups, chiefs, Members of Parliament and Ministers of State, world leaders to pay their last respect to the ex-UN boss.

Tomorrow, a burial service would be held at the Accra International Conference Centre which would be followed by a private burial at the newly built military cemetery with full military honours and a 17-gun salute.

                                                                                                          Road closure

As a result of the huge numbers of visitors expected at the funeral, the Ghana Police Service has announced a temporary closure of some roads within the capital to facilitate free flow of traffic.

In a statement, the police said they had earmarked the Osu cemetery Traffic Light on the Lokko Street, Castle road, from AU Circle to Osu Cemetery Traffic Light as the affected routes to be blocked to the public.

The statement encouraged motorists from Lokko Street towards the Castle road to consider using Ajumaku and Oxford Streets.

The statement also added that unmarked vehicles would not be permitted to park or drive through those blockades.

"Security vehicles and vehicles carrying dignitaries would be allowed after thorough checks", the statement emphasized.

The Police cautioned the general public to take note of these traffic arrangements and cooperate with the them to ensure effective traffic management.

The police assured the public that traffic police officers would be on hand to provide utmost assistance needed during the period.

Mr Kofi Annan served as the 7th Secretary-General of the United Nations, from January 1997 to December 2006.