Opinion: “Benefits of Kofi Annan’s Funeral to Ghana”? What a Stupid Question! By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

The writer, Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jnr., Ph.D.

It is a question that no intelligent reporter would have asked the Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts Minister, but it was contextually quite understandable although not the least bit acceptable . Incidentally, the recently deceased former United Nations’ Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Atta Annan, served as Director of the Ghana Tourism Board in the mid-1970s, if memory serves yours truly accurately, after he decided to take a break from the UN Headquarters in New York City. The activities of the Western-dominated peacekeeping organization had lost both a critical aspect of its significance and seriousness on the global diplomacy front, which was why once he took the helm of affairs of the global intergovernmental corporate establishment, Mr. Annan quickly set about the business of radically reforming the operations of the UN in order to make it more relevant and impactful in an increasingly highly technological and unprecedently violent world.

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Still, the question of whether the country stood to reap any benefits from the tourism industry, primarily because of the seismic passing of Mr. Annan was scandalously and insufferably absurd, if also because the accession of the Ghanaian-born and bred Mr. Annan to the post of UN Secretary-General, the Seventh and the First Black-African to be elected to the post, put Ghana in the global media spotlight in a way that had not been witnessed before, except for the equally historic occasion of the accession of Ghana’s First Postcolonial Leader, Mr. Kwame Nkrumah, to the country’s helm of affairs in 1957. I imagine that if Ghana stood to make any economic and/or material gains from the personality and global reputation of Mr. Annan, this would have been the period and the moment, especially in the wake of his joint awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize together with the institutional establishment of the United Nations, both of whom were commended for stabilizing the conduct of international diplomacy and the reasonable containment of violence and conflict around the globe.

If either the Government or the Tourism Ministry decided to give a formidable tourist edge to the memory of the country’s most distinguished and famous diplomat of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, most likely this could come in the form of creating some sort of architectural design or tomb at the Burma Camp Military Cemetery where our discursive subject was recently buried. Already, there is the German Government-funded Institute named after the man in the Greater-Accra Region. The Government could also decide to expand the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center (KAIPTC) into a multidisciplinary full-fledged or major university. I will get to that very shortly but suffice it to observe in passing that the suggestion by the National Democratic Congress’ Parliamentary Minority that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Building be renamed after Mr. Annan is decidedly a no-brainer. I will explain precisely what I mean by this riposte in due course.

For now, what ought to be made clear to both cynics and admirers of the man, alike, is that Mr. Annan was a veritable institution in both his own right as well as by global acclaim long before his glorious passing at the very mature albeit exceptionally productive age of 80. He doesn’t need anybody’s self-serving further elevation; for even as former US President Barack H. Obama said of Mr. Nelson R. Mandela, on the occasion of the equally glorious passing of the legendary leader of the African National Congress (ANC) and the First Post-Apartheid South African President, “Kofi Annan belongs to the ages.”

*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com  Ghanaffairs


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