Former Zambian President Kenneth Kawunda Dies Aged 97

Former Zambian President Kenneth Kawunda Dies Aged 97

By Our Reporter

Renowned Pan-Africanist Kenneth Kawunda Zambia’s, who was Zambia’s  first president, has unfortunately gone to the creator, after he succumbed died on Thursday night.

Kaunda was admitted to a military hospital in the capital, Lusaka, on Monday, suffering from pneumonia.

Although rumour was going around that he had succumbed to Coronavirus, Kaunda’s aides said he did not have Covid-19.

In the 1950s, Kaunda was a key figure in what was then Northern Rhodesia’s independence movement from Britain.

He became president following independence in 1964 as head of the left-leaning United National Independence Party (UNIP), and later led the country through decades of one-party rule.

“I join all freedom-loving Africans in mourning Dr. Kenneth David Kaunda who passed on earlier today. Dr. Kaunda was Zambia’s founding President, and has been one of the continent’s few surviving independence heroes,” Bobi Wine said about Kaunda shortly after learning about his demise.

He added that; “During his Presidency, Dr. Kaunda made Zambia a safe space for groups fighting to end colonialism in several African States especially South Africa and Zimbabwe. Above all, he placed his nation above his personal interest when he lost elections and handed over power peacefully to his successor, President Chiluba in 1991; something that has continued to elude many leaders on the continent. His contribution towards the struggle for the dignity of the African People will forever be celebrated.

I send deepest condolences to the people of Zambia and the family of the deceased statesman. May his soul rest in perfect peace.”

Kenneth David Kaunda (28 April 1924 – 17 June 2021), aka KK,4 was a Zambian politician who served as the first President of Zambia from 1964 to 1991.

He was at the forefront of the struggle for independence from British rule.

Dissatisfied with Harry Nkumbula’s leadership of the Northern Rhodesian African National Congress, he broke away and founded the Zambian African National Congress, later becoming the head of the United National Independence Party (UNIP).

He was the first President of the independent Zambia. In 1973 following tribal and inter-party violence, all political parties except UNIP were banned through an amendment of the constitution after the signing of the Choma Declaration.

At the same time, Kaunda oversaw the acquisition of majority stakes in key foreign-owned companies. The oil crisis of 1973 and a slump in export revenues put Zambia in a state of economic crisis.

International pressure forced Kaunda to change the rules that had kept him in power. Multi-party elections took place in 1991, in which Frederick Chiluba, the leader of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy, ousted Kaunda.

Kaunda was briefly stripped of Zambian citizenship in 1999, but the decision was overturned the following year.

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