Africa has lost one of its most prominent Democrats with the passing of Kofi Atta Annan on August 18, 2018. He is worth remembering.
Mr. Annan was a Ghanaian diplomat who emerged from the ranks of United Nations staff to become the world body’s 7th Secretary General, serving from 1997-2006. He was was a Democrat and believed everyone has a place and role to play in society. He was also a passionate advocate for peace and security and human rights and believed strongly in the principle of equality.
Annan opposed the invasion of Iraq in 2003. He was very active in resolving the conflicts plaguing the African continent. For example, he participated in brokering the Green Tree Accord that ended the conflict between the Cameroon Republic and Nigeria over the ownership of the Bakassi Peninsula.
He worked tirelessly towards the establishment of two intergovernmental bodies that are vital for the promotion of world peace and democracy, the Human Rights Council and the UN Peacebuilding Commission in 2005.
In his struggle to bring democracy to Africa, he urged African leaders to understand that they are at the service of the people and not the other way round. According to Kofi himself “Leadership is service, leaders must understand that they hold power in trust of the people and [that their power] can also be taken away [by the people as is their right].”
All his good work earned him a Nobel Peace Prize in 2001. Even after leaving the U.N, Annan continued working to promote free, fair and transparent elections on the African continent through the foundation that carries his name, The Kofi Annan Foundation.
His passing is a great loss for the African continent that suffers a deficiency in good pro-democracy leadership and even many dictatorships on the continent. Annan will be remembered as a man who throughout his life fought for a fairer and more peaceful world. In my opinion, he deserves to have his own day, Kofi Annan Day, to celebrate his service to mankind.