Zambia's First President Kenneth David Kaunda Dies at 97

Zambia's First President Kenneth David Kaunda Dies at 97

  • The founding father of Zambia, former president Kenneth David Kaunda died on Thursday, June 17, in Lusaka, the country's capital
  • Kaunda's death was announced by his son Kambarange, saying the late former president would be sorely missed
  • According to the report, the ex-president died days after being hospitalised at a military hospital in Lusaka

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Zambia’s founding president and liberation hero, Kenneth Kaunda, has died at a military hospital in Lusaka where he was being treated for pneumonia, his son, Kambarage, said on Thursday. He was 97.

Aljazeera reports that Kaunda ruled Zambia from 1964, when the southern African nation won its independence from Britain, until 1991, and afterwards become one of Africa’s most committed activists against HIV/AIDS.

Zambia's founding president Kenneth David Kaunda.
Zambia's First President Kenneth David Kaunda. Photo: Rolls Press/Popperfoto.
Source: Getty Images

Kaunda's death came barely three days after he was hospitalised at a military hospital in the country's capital Lusaka, Zambia's Mwebantu reported.

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The former president was receiving treatment for an undisclosed illness, his office had earlier said.

Mourning the fallen former president, presidential candidate in Zambia's 2021 elections Hakainde Hichilema said:

"We have learned with deep sorrow, of the death of Zambia’s first President and our founding father, Kenneth David Buchizya Kaunda. He passed away peacefully in Lusaka today, after a short illness."

He further expressed his condolences to the Kaunda family during their bereavement and prayed for strength as they came to terms with the sad loss.

"Bashikulu KK will be sorely missed by all Zambians and the rest of the people on the African continent. Rest in peace gallant son of Africa," he added.

Kaunda hospitalised in Lusaka

His administrative assistant Rodrick Ngolo said in a statement on Monday, June 14 that Kaunda had been feeling unwell and had been admitted to the Maina Soko Medical Centre.

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“His Excellency Dr Kaunda is requesting all Zambians and the international community to pray for him as the medical team is doing everything to ensure he recovers,” the statement said.

Kaunda's rule in Zambia

The 97-year-old ruled Zambia from 1964, when the country won its independence from Britain, until 1991. He is among the continent’s few surviving liberation heroes.

Kaunda was one of the first leaders of a new Africa, as countries rejected colonialism in favour of self-government.

Despite his early rejection of multiparty democracy, he was acclaimed as a modernizing influence on the continent.

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Kaunda began the job of building a new Zambia, free to choose its own path in international affairs, as a devoted pan-Africanist.

However, his popularity plummeted as a result of his terrible economic management, and he was thrown out of government in 1991 during free elections.

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Kenneth David Kaunda was born on April 28, 1924, at the boundary between Northern Rhodesia and the Congo at a mission post.

His father, an ordained Church of Scotland minister, died while he was still a child, leaving the family in straitened circumstances.

But the young Kaunda's academic ability won him a place in the first secondary school to be formed in Northern Rhodesia, and he later became a teacher.

Chad's president Idriss Deby dies

Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that the president of Chad, Idriss Deby, died of injuries sustained while on the frontline fighting rebels in the country, an Army spokesman announced on Tuesday, April 20.

It was reported that the development sparked reactions from Nigerians and others across Africa and the international community.

General Mahamat Kaka, the son of the deceased Chadian leader, was revealed as the country's interim head of the state.

Source: Legit.ng

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