Sierra Leone Telegraph: 18 June 2021:
Zambia’s founding president, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda has died, his family confirmed yesterday Thursday 17th June 2021. He was aged 97. Kaunda was hospitalised on Monday in Lusaka, the capital suffering from pneumonia. The family denied he had Covid-19.
Dr. Kaunda, fondly known as KK, was a strong supporter of efforts to end apartheid in South Africa. He was also a leading supporter of liberation movements in Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
“I am sad to inform we have lost Mzee,” Kaunda’s son, Kambarage, wrote on his late father’s Facebook page, using a term of respect. “Let’s pray for him.”
Cabinet secretary Simon Miti said in an address on public television that Kaunda “died peacefully” at 2.30pm at a military hospital where he had been admitted on Monday with pneumonia.
The news comes after he was admitted to Maina Soko Medical Centre on Monday, with his office saying he was “unwell” and his aide, Rodrick Ngolo, saying he was being treated for pneumonia. (Photo: Late Dr Kenneth Kaunda).
Kaunda, 97, was the inaugural president of Zambia between 1964 and 1990, after the country gained independence from Britain.
He was born on 28 April 1924 in Chinsali, in what was then known as Northern Rhodesia.
Kaunda was head of the main nationalist party, the left-of-centre United National Independence Party (UNIP) which led the country to freedom from British colonial rule.
Initially a popular leader, Kaunda became increasingly autocratic and banned all opposition parties.
He eventually ceded power in the first multi-party elections in 1991, losing to trade unionist Fredrick Chiluba.
While in power, he hosted many of the movements fighting for independence or black equality in other countries around the region, including South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC).
Later in life, he regained stature as one of Africa’s political giants, helping to mediate crises in Zimbabwe and Kenya.
The UPND Alliance in Zambia has today announced that it has suspend election campaigns following the death of Dr. Kenneth Kaunda. This is what the statement says:
“Countrymen and women, as the nation comes together in mourning, remembrance and celebration of the life of our dearly departed founding father of our nation, Dr. Kenneth David Kaunda, it is agreed and therefore directed, that the UPND and all our alliance partners, suspend all active mobilization activities until further notice.
“It is also agreed and therefore directed, that all our people out on the campaign trail across the country, immediately call off all campaigns and return to their original bases as the nation comes together in unity and pay our respects to our nation’s founding father.
“We urge all to remain peaceful and united as we continue to reflect on the life of the Dr. Kaunda, the immense sense of duty, service and sacrifice with which he led and served our country and our people. I thank you.”
Dr Kaunda will be remembered by many in Africa and around the world for waving his white handkerchief. He is expected to have a huge State funeral, limited only by Covid restrictions.