Zambia’s former President Kenneth Kaunda has died. The sad news have been confirmed by Radio54 African Panorama’s Lusaka based Broadcaster Wallace JC Chizenga. The presenter of the popular magazine radio show Lets Get it Right broke the news this afternoon, adding that it is a very sad moment and sorrow has gripped the nation in Zambia.
Those close to Kaunda claim he was 100years old. KK as he was affectionately known across Africa, ruled Zambia from 1964, when the country won its independence from Britain, until 1991. He is among the continent’s few surviving liberation heroes. His administrative assistant Rodrick Ngolo said in a statement on Monday that Kaunda had been feeling unwell and had been admitted to the Maina Soko Medical Centre in Lusaka.
During his rule, Kaunda made Zambia a centre for anticolonial groups fighting to end white minority rule in Southern African countries, including Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Kaunda allowed the armed organisations to maintain military bases, training camps, refugee centres and administrative offices.
Later in life, he regained stature as one of Africa’s political giants, helping to mediate crises in Zimbabwe and Kenya.
Kaunda was the head of the main nationalist party, the left-of-centre United National Independence Party (UNIP).
Kaunda also became an AIDS campaigner, announcing publicly one of his sons had died from the illness.
Also nicknamed “Africa’s Gandhi” for his non-violent, independence-related activism in the 1960s, he charmed mourners at Nelson Mandela’s burial in December 2013.
Just a few days ago, President Edgar Lungu urged the nation to pray for the former president so that “God may touch him with His healing hand”.
“He stood up for this great nation at its most critical moment, and so we can all stand up for him in his moment of weakness,” Lungu said on his Facebook page.
May His Soul Rest In Peace.
By Eric Knight