The passing of one of the greatest sons of Humanity, Kofi Annan was received with heavy hearts all over the world. His legacies will never be forgotten but many Africans remain unimpressed, but why?
Africa is a continent blessed in many ways - but Leadership; and like the renowned Pan-African activist and Afro Optimist, Professor Patrick Loch Otieno Lumumba of Kenya puts it "the problem of Africa is a problem of Leadership - and sadly so!"
News of the demise of the 7th Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan was received with remorse on 18 August, 2018 and eulogy erupted from ever part of the world for a man chosen by greatness. For the first time in a very long time the world was blind to colour and Africa was at the receiving end of some commendation as the deeds of the great Kofi Annan, especially during his time as Secretary General of the United Nations and leader of the and Arab League Envoy to Syria, was too much to ignore.
According to the report released by his family, Annan died aged 80 after a brief illness, with his wife and children by his side in Switzerland.
President of his home country, Ghana - Nana Akufo-Addo who in an emotional message on twitter said the country's flags would fly at half-mast for a week in mourning to honour “one of our greatest compatriots who excelled in the various undertakings of his life, leaving in his trail most pleasant memories.”
One ting that is evident of note is the fact that many Africans, including those from his home country didn't have a lot to say about Annan and you wouldn't blame them because Annan was more of a world leader than an African leader. this is why many Africans disagreed with Russia’s Vladimir Putin when he said of Annan “I sincerely admired his wisdom and courage, his ability to make informed decisions even in the most complex, critical situations.”
This is as a result of a hurt which many Africans still bear in their heart. A hurt engraved in their hearts as a result of the actions of United Nations during the Rwanda Genocide in 1994 while Kofi Annan was Under-Secretary-General for peacekeeping (between March 1992 and December 1996) before he was appointed Secretary General on 13 December 1996 by the United Nations Security Council.
In a crisis which lasted 100 days and took over a million lives, Annan was believed to be the one who held back UN troops from intervening to settle the conflict, and from providing more logistical and material support. This, many critics believed clearly showed that Annan didn't have the Continent of Africa at heart and retired Canadian General Roméo Dallaire, who was force commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda, was unforgiving in his book published in 2003 titled "Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda" when he claimed that "Annan was overly passive in his response to the imminent genocide.
Annan's open apology in 2004 (Ten ears after the Genocide) when he said "I could and should have done more to sound the alarm and rally support." and statements in his book titled "Interventions: A Life in War and Peace, saying - "United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations could have made better use of the media to raise awareness of the violence in Rwanda and put pressure on governments to provide the troops necessary for an intervention", obviously didn't heal the wounds.
It would be harsh however to Judge Annan on his role in the Rwanda Genocide and forget his many achievements - which most prominent is the Millennium Development Goals (which gave birth to the Sustainable Development Goals targeted at 2030) adopted by the United Nations under Annan's watch. He is also credited for the Recommendations for UN Reforms, United Nations Information Technology Service (UNITeS), The United Nations Global Impact, The Global Funds Project, etc.
Indeed, Kofi Annan was a great son of humanity with unequaled legacy, but was he an African Leader.
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