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Opinions of Monday, 2 August 2004

Columnist: GNA

Busumuru strolls along Accra streets in search of peace

A GNA Feature, By Boakye-Dankwa Boadi

Accra, Aug. 2, GNA - Busumuru Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations, last Friday took a one-kilometre stroll along an Accra avenue in what could be described as a search for peace. The stroll by Busumuru accompanied by his wife Nane, took him to the Department of Parks and Gardens at Cantonments. The stroll taken in the morning before he went in for the final rounds of talks to bring the Ivorian Peace Process back on track must have been very refreshing indeed for Busumuru.

One could imagine the myriads of thoughts that might have been doing some gymnastics in the mind of the Great Busumuru as he strolled along. He might have been thinking when he could take such a stroll in Grand Bassam in Abidjan. Indeed the stroll was taken without the usual tight security because Ghana unlike elsewhere in the world is peaceful and safe. After all he was among his kit and kin. People who drove past could not believe their eyes when they saw the UN Secretary-General making his usual diplomatic steps to and from the Parks and Gardens.

At the Parks and Gardens, Mr Daniel Kingsford Adams, Head of the Educational Unit of the Department, received the Couple. He asked Busumuru, what had brought him to their offices that morning and whether it was an official call? The UN Secretary-General said it was a private visit. "The man was very friendly. He put his hand around my neck as we went round like a big brother would do to his sibling. I was surprised that a whole Secretary-General of the UN could be so affable to me an ordinary Civil Servant", Mr Adams told the Ghana News Agency.

He said Busumuru asked to see some of the tropical ornamental plants that they had in the Garden and he obliged. Mr Adams said Busumuru showed special interest in mimosa; copper rod tree; golden showers; cycas and rain tree. The Couple ended their trip into the garden with the selection of 17 species that they said they would like to have in their home.

Mr George Owusu-Afriyie, Chief Parks and Gardens Officer, told the GNA that the Department was established in 1915 under a Superintending Sanitary Engineer. It was at first used as a Hardening Station for plants brought from the high altitude of Aburi. In 1965 the Department became the Ministry of Parks and Gardens and Tourism but was reverted to a departmental status and put under the Ministry of Forestry after the 1966 Coup that overthrew the First Republic under Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah.

The functions of the Department include developing and promoting the beautification of settlements in the country; sustaining the landscape beauty of built up and natural environment with effective programmes; provide educational, training and extension services and conserve ornamental, medicinal and threatened plant species for scientific study and research through the establishment of botanic gardens and arboreta.

Mr Owusu-Afriyie said plants gave economic, social and spiritual benefits, adding that flowers brought beauty to churches, homes and offices and created a link between man and the Creator. "Flowers depict love. Red rose in bud means - 'I love you'; bouquet of flowers to a sick person means 'get well soon'; flowers are given to champion sportsmen and sportswomen and flowers woven into a wreath is a mark of remembrance", he said. Indeed Ghana must be sending a bouquet of flowers to her sister Cote d'Ivoire to tell her "get well soon".

Busumuru Annan has since left Accra, Ghana after the two-day Mini-Summit on the Ivorian crisis dubbed ACCRA III. Mr Annan Kito, Secretary to the Ghanaian Cabinet, Mr Ken Kandaa, Chief Protocol Officer and Alhaji Ibrahim Omar Dean of the Diplomatic Corp, saw the Secretary General off at the Kotoka International Airport on Saturday.

The Mini-Summit adopted an 18-point resolution - 'The Accra III Agreement on Cote d'Ivoire". The resolution mandates all factions to the crisis to commence Disarmament, Demobilisation and Re-integration (DDR) by October 15, 2004. It also encouraged all the parties to the conflict to implement fully the Linas-Marcoussis and ACCRA II Accords to facilitate the conduct of free, fair, credible and transparent elections in Cote d'Ivoire in October 2005.

The Mini-Summit was held under the auspices of the ECOWAS Chairman, President John Agyekum Kufuor of Ghana and Busumuru Annan, was attended by 17 African Heads of State and Government and representatives of the political parties in Cote d'Ivoire. To ensure the implementation of the resolution, the factions agreed to establish a tripartite monitoring mechanism to comprise representatives of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS), African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) Mission in Cote d'Ivoire. The resolution said the monitoring group should make reports fortnightly on the progress in the implementation of the ACCRA III Agreement. The reports are to be submitted to the Chairman of ECOWAS, Chairperson of the AU and the UN Secretary General. The Cote d'Ivoire's crisis erupted on September 19, 2002 when soldiers mutinied and it turned into a coup attempt. This has effectively split the country into two with the rebels taking control of the northern part of the country.