At the time the late Kofi Annan was taking his tutorials at Mfantsipim to begin life as a diplomat, the bald old man with one leg in the grave was also a dashing young man at a rival school at Cape Coast. Our paths crossed a number of times at sporting events and debating clubs, where we tried to impress the fairer sex.
When Kofi headed the Ghana Tourist Board, the bearded old man chose the academic route to life, holding the chalk at the Ivory Tower. On the few occasions our paths crossed, either on the conference floor in Geneva, Washington, or Paris, we had moments to share of our youth in the former Gold Coast capital that also became the headquarters of the Western Regional Administration, and now housing the Co-ordinating Council of the Central Region.
The bald old man was nestling in the old sofa, when television broke the news of Kofi’s demise. Quite a few drops of tears dropped from the old and tired eyes. When a date was announced for the return of his mortal remains, the bald old academic was in an expectant mood.
On learning of the three-days of mourning declared through the Presidential decree of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, I sent for the delivery men to take the old black suit to the laundry.
Let it be known that alcohol has never touched the old lips of the bald old man for a considerable time now, but when the casket, said to contain the mortal remains of the Ghanaian who rose to become the world’s leading diplomat, touched down at the Kotoka International Airport, I reached for the Black Label that had decorated the gift box from time immemorial.
I decided to join the file-past event at the Accra International Conference Centre on the second day. I sent for Paa Kwesi, my escort for such events, but when mourners were filing past a coffin that was firmly sealed and wrapped with the Ghana flag, I thought something was not right.
I told myself, ‘Hang on Old Boy!’ What is it that could account for a sealed coffin at a filing past event in this country? There is only one answer. The sealed coffin never had the mortal remains of the great man. If television footage never recorded the bearded old man filing past the coffin, there is your answer!