Adieu! Dr Moses Anafu

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By Emeka Anyaoku

DR. MOSES Anafu who died on 29 November 2018 was a cerebral international diplomat from Ghana. He served in the Commonwealth Secretariat at Marlborough House, London from 1979 to 2000.

I first met Moses in 1979 when as Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General I chaired a panel that interviewed him for the post of Research Officer in the Political Affairs Division of the Commonwealth Secretariat. Although he had earned his PhD at Cambridge University from a thesis on an aspect of Italian history, he impressed the members of the panel with the depth and articulation of his views on Africa and the developing Commonwealth countries. He was hired and soon began through brilliance to work his way to becoming a Chief Research Officer in 1987 and thereafter was appointed Assistant Director and effective head of the Africa section in the Division.

On becoming the Commonwealth Secretary-General in 1990, Moses and others from my private office often accompanied me on my mediatory missions to existing and potential African Commonwealth member countries in conflictual situations. He had an uncommon capacity for brokering peace and reconciliation between parties in virtual or actual conflict. As a result, he served as the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to follow up on a continuing basis my mediatory interventions in several conflicts within and between African Commonwealth countries.

To recall only two of his notable services as the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy, Moses Anafu accompanied me and three other colleagues on my visit to South Africa early in November 1991 to discuss with the then State President, F W de Clerk, how the Commonwealth might assist the South African Government’s declared plan to begin formal negotiations with the country’s anti-apartheid organisations. Thereafter, following the formal launching of the negotiations at Kempton Park in Johannesburg on December 1 1991, Moses was virtually resident in South Africa as my Special Envoy helping to deal with the eruptions of violence that seemed at times to threaten the continuation of the negotiations.

As was testified to me by Nelson Mandela leader of the ANC party and Mangosuthu Buthelezi leader of the IFP party on my many visits to South Africa during the period of the negotiations, Moses established excellent personal working relations with the two gentlemen and their colleagues, and was able to play a seminal role in dealing with the violence that occurred from time to time especially in Kwazulu Natal; violence that seemed capable of aborting the negotiations which were successfully concluded on 17 November 1993.

Again in 1996 while Sierra Leone was being wracked by a disastrous civil war between the Government of President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah and the rebel Revolutionary United Front led by Corporal Foday Sankoh, it was Moses that I sent as the Commonwealth Special Envoy to go and assist with the other special envoys from the UN and the OAU in brokering a cease-fire between the Sierra Leone’s warring parties at the talks hosted in Abidjan by President Konan Bedie of Cote d’Ivoir. The talks had been made possible with the help of the BBC World Service who, at my request, had through its broadcasts enabled Foday Sankoh to contact my office from his unknown location in the West African bush. The Abidjan Peace Accord signed on 25 February 1996 between President Tejan Kabbah and the rebel leader Foday Sankoh had as its additional signatories President Konan Bedie of Cote d’Ivoir, Berhanu Dinka of the UN, Adwoa Coleman of the OAU, and Moses Anafu of the Commonwealth.

Moses had an uncommon gift of being able to capture and render in very readable English prose thoughts given to him for a speech and accordingly,was  among the select few of my speech writers during my tenure as Commonwealth Secretary-General. He became such a friend and collaborator that even after my retirement from office in 2000, I called on him in 2002 to accompany me to the University of Cape Coast in Ghana where I gave the three Kwame Nkrumah lectures, and in 2003 to a meeting of the Africa Forum in South Africa (a forum of former African Heads of State and former Secretaries-General of pan-African and global organisations).

Dr Moses Anafu played an outstanding role to the overall contribution of the Commonwealth to conflict resolution and pursuit of democracy and development in several African member countries during the period of his service at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London.

My wife and I join Ernestina his widow, their children and the people of his dear Ghana in mourning his passing.

*Emeka Anyaoku, Commonwealth Secretary-General 1990-2000. Lagos, December 2018.   

– Dec. 27, 2018 @ 10:03 GMT /

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