Leaders mourn former UN chief Kofi Annan

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The former UN Secretary General and Nobel Peace Laureate Kofi Annan passed away on Saturday
The former UN Secretary General and Nobel Peace Laureate Kofi Annan passed away on Saturday

Kenyan leaders have mourned the sad demise of the former UN Secretary General and Nobel Peace Laureate Kofi Annan. The global statesman and peace champion passed away on Saturday aged 80 years after a short illness, according to his family and the Kofi Annan Foundation. In a statement issued by the family and the Kofi Annan foundation, his wife Nane and their children Ama, Kojo and Nina were by his side during his last days. The Ghanaian diplomat is widely remembered for his role in fighting for human rights while he was at the helm of the United Nations, where he served two terms from 1997 to 2006. He received the Nobel Peace Prize jointly in 2001, in acknowledgement of the efforts for a better organized and more peaceful world.

Annan was also a member of a humanitarian group of leaders and activists, of a global stature, formed by the late Nelson Mandela known as the Elders. Kenyans, however, remember him as a vital cog that ensured peace was brokered after the 2007/2008 elections, and the role it played in ushering in a coalition government. The peace deal struck between retired President Mwai Kibaki and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga brought an end to violence that had rocked the nation.

President Uhuru Kenyatta condoled with his family, friends and relatives, “My thoughts and prayers go out to them as they come to terms with this sad news. We pray that the Almighty God will grant his family, relatives, and friends the strength and grace to bear the loss,” read President Kenyatta’s statement.

Deputy President William Ruto noted that the international community has lost an outstanding, remarkable and suave diplomat in Kofi Annan, “We mourn a distinguished man and a friend of humanity.” He passed his condolences to the family and friends.

On his part Raila Odinga said Kenyans retain fond memories of the man who stepped in and saved the country from collapse following the 2007/2008 post election violence, and expressed deep gratitude and appreciation of Dr. Annan for his dedicated and tireless work in stabilizing the world and encouraging Africa to aspire to higher levels of democracy, respect for human rights and sound governance as the path of sustainable peace and economic development.

Retired President Mwai Kibaki lauded Annan’s stature as an African diplomat, saying he remains the most iconic representative of Africa at the UN. He acknowledged that he’ll be remembered for mediating the return of peace in Kenya when the country encountered political turbulence.