As Africa plunges into mourning following the death of the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), Kofi Annan this past weekend, Namibian government officials have come out to pour their condolences.
Annan, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, died at 80 in a hospital in Bern, Switzerland, in the early hours of Saturday after a short illness.
Soon after the sad news, statehouse press secretary, Dr. Alfredo Hengari issued a statement, “His Excellency, President Hage G. Geingob mourns (the) loss of former United Nations Secretary General, His Excellency Kofi Annan, (and) describes him as a global statesman, a courageous humanitarian and exceptional servant of the African continent and humanity.”
Hengari said the President praises the exceptional work of the late Annan in the promotion of peace.
“During this period of bereavement, President Geingob extends sincere condolences to the wife of H.E Kofi Annan, Madam Nane Maria Annan, his children, family and the people of Ghana,” he said.
The President is quoted as saying, “My friend Kofi Annan worked for a better world, and succeeded in many ways in that regard.”
Leader of the official opposition party, MacHenry Venaani also said Annan will be remembered for revitalising the UN and putting human rights at the core of its mission.
“He held the reins of the UN during some of the most difficult times in human history, but managed to craft a global reputation as a fighter for a fairer and more peaceful world.”
“He will forever remain a symbol of Africa rising in the global community and even through some of the most challenging times in the world’s history, he showed humanity what black Africans are capable of in terms of showing excellent and making a difference,” he said in a statement.
Venaani also said the Ghanaian diplomat shall be remembered as the architect and midwife of the world’s developmental targets, namely the Millennium Developmental Goals.
“What is even more profound about Mr. Annan was that he could criticise himself. Rather than shirking responsibilities, he was his own worst critic, and when it was of the utmost important, he stood up to global powers, including the United States, when they illegally invaded Iraq in 2003.”
“With all matters being equal, he was a great statesman from which we shall continue to draw great lessons and inspiration. This son of Kumasi in southern Ghana has indeed left his mark upon the world. As the leader of the official opposition, I wish to extend my heartfelt and deepest condolences to his wife Nane Marie, his son Kojo and his two daughters, Ama and Nina,” said Venaani.
Annan was a month ago in Zimbabwe as part of the elders’ delegation to monitor the country’s election where he called for peace and tolerance.
His tenure at the UN where he served twice in New York from 1997 until 2006 was criticized when as head of UN peacekeeping operations, he came under fire for failing to stop the genocide in Rwanda.
“He will be remembered as a dedicated humanitarian whose career was tarnished by ugly conflicts that spun out of control,” wrote Reuters.
He has been slammed “For being unable to bring peace to Syria and bring to rest the failures of diplomacy in Rwanda, Bosnia, Darfur, Cyprus, Somalia and Iraq, which are likely to drown out the plaudits for his softly spoken mediation and efforts to eradicate poverty and AIDS that won him the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize,” Reuters added.