A director at the UN Office of the Special Adviser on Africa, Patrick Hayford, has extolled Kofi Annan for keeping in touch with his African roots yet maintaining a global outlook when he was alive.
Mr Hayford said the ease with which the late former UN Secretary-General combined these two worldviews in his personality is the reason for his success at the UN and his appeal to many across the globe.
Kofi Annan had written in his autobiography, 'Interventions', that his father saw “no contradiction in being African in identity and European in outlook; a nationalist as well as a traditionalist, a proponent of political change and upholder of values of respect, dignity, discipline and hard work that has changed his own life and career.”
Mr Hayford believes that passage from Mr Annan’s book is telling of the endearing grace with which the global icon conducted his affairs.
“That is the kind of home he came from -- African in identity, but European in outlook. So Mr Kofi Annan was a global citizen. He was comfortable everywhere.
“He didn’t do the race thing. He was not waving the Black thing in everybody’s face. No. He knew who he was, he knew where he came from; he was confident, articulate and focused on his mission as Secretary General of the UN and that’s what struck a chord so widely,” he said on PM Express, a current affairs programme on MultiTV's Joy News channel, Thursday evening.
Since Kofi Annan’s death on Saturday, August 18 in Switzerland, he has been praised in tributes as a consummate diplomat. Kofi Annan was the seventh Secretary-General of the UN from January 1997 to December 2006.
A three-day, well-attended national mourning to celebrate his life rounded to a close on Thursday.
Presidents and world leaders thronged Accra on Wednesday to pay their last respects to Mr Annan as part of the elaborate funeral ceremony.
Mr Hayford described Kofi Annan as “a dignified, calm, well-spoken, thoughtful African” who was very proud of his African identity but would not “wave it as a flag as some people try to do.”