Ghana shone once again after former President John Agyekum Kufuor, on Friday, was conferred with the highest national award of the Republic of Liberia, ‘The Collar of State – Most Venerable Order of the Pioneers,’ by President George Manneh Weah on the occasion of the observance of the 171st National Flag Day.
The occasion also marked the 15th year of the signing of the Accra Accords which was the final peace document that was negotiated to bring closure to the many years of war that ravaged the West African country.
The accord was brokered mainly under the auspices of former President John Kufuor, the then-president of Ghana and chair of ECOWAS.
Peace has since ensued in Liberia and there has been a peaceful and democratic change of government among opposing political parties.
Also, honoured in the ceremony were Sir Arsene Charles Ernest Wenger, former manager of Arsenal Football Club, who received the award of Knight Grand Commander, Humane Order of African Redemption (KGC-HOAR), and Claude Marie Francois Le Roy, coach of the Togolese national team, who received the award of Knight Commander, Humane Order of African Redemption (KC-HOAR).
Other award recipients were Alhaji Frank Jerico Nagbe, former coach of the Lonestar, the Liberian National team; Dominic Vava George, former coach of Lonestar; and Ms. Gbour S. Wilson, a basketball icon, each of whom were awarded the Commander, Star of Africa (CSA).
A citation that accompanied the award to former President Kufuor and read by the Liberian president says:
“Under [President Kufuor’s] ingenious leadership, marked socio-economic development was recorded in Ghana; notably, pioneering of the National Health Insurance Scheme which benefited more than eleven million Ghanaians; construction and operationalisation of more than 200 hospitals and clinics; introduction of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty Program (LEAP) which provided cash transfers to poor households in the country; among others.” It continued that; “As president of Ghana and Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Authority of Heads of State and Government, you oversaw Liberia peace efforts and coordinated with the parties to the Liberian conflict culminating in the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement which laid the roadmap for the successful restoration of peace and stability of Liberia. The Government and people of Liberia owe you a debt of gratitude for the sustained fraternal bond of friendship you exhibited and your continued positive role in promoting peace and development in Liberia, has won for you a special place in the hearts of Liberians.”
President Kufuor, on his part, thanked the president, government, and the people of Liberia for the recognition of his efforts to help a brother African country in times of need, especially in the critical area of peace which is a prerequisite for national development. He hoped that the peace that is now being enjoyed in Liberia will be a lasting one, and that the president and his government will deliver the socio-economic development that Liberians are yearning for to bring smiles onto their faces.
The former president and his delegation returned home on Friday evening.