Africa mourns beloved hero “KK”


AFRICAN heads of state and their nations have paid warm tributes to Dr Kenneth Kauda (97), the continent’s liberation hero and founding president of Zambia, who has passed on.

Kaunda’s Zambia contributed immensely to the liberation of many African countries, particularly those in southern Africa, including South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. At great cost, he hosted the ANC and other liberation movements in Zambia, attracting attacks from apartheid South Africa and other colonial powers.

Zambia has declared 21 days of national mourning in honour of Kaunda. President Edgar Lungu has declared that during this period, all activities of entertainment nature have been suspended with immediate effect. All flags will fly at half-mast. 

Dr Simon Miti, the cabinet secretary, announced that the Zambian government would provide details of Kaunda’s funeral, which will take into account the COVID-19 restrictions. 

In honour of Kaunda, Botswana has announced a seven day mourning period.

 Mokgweetsi Masisi, the President of Botswana, described Kaunda as an iconic statesman of the highest credentials and selfless dedication to the interests of his own country as well as the wellbeing of neighbours and humankind at large. 

He said Kaunda was Botswana’s best friend during the worst of times when the country was battling to find itself during the trying times of early independence when it needed friends the most.

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa said death had robbed Zambia and Africa of an exemplary father, an astute politician and leader whose immense contribution to the liberation of southern African countries from colonial rule is well documented and acknowledged by the international community.

Yoweri Museveni, the President of Uganda, said: “I have learnt with shock, of the death of our elder, Mzee Kenneth Kaunda. Although God has blessed him with many years of life, departing at 97 years, since his brain was still sharp, we could have had more years of his wisdom.”

The President of Tanzania Samla Suluhu said: “I’m deeply saddened by the passing on of the First President of Zambia, H.E Kenneth Kaunda. Africa has lost a liberation fighter, patriot and true Pan-Africanist. My condolences to President @EdgarCLungu , the bereaved family and all Zambians. May his soul rest in peace! Amen.”

Moussa Faki Mahamat, the chairperson of the African Union Commission, said: “It is with an indescribable sense of loss that I learnt of the passing of H.E. Kenneth Kaunda, first president of the Republic of Zambia and one of the Founding Fathers of the Organisation of African Unity. My deepest condolences to his family, the people and the government of Zambia.”

Zimbabwean politician Professor Jonathan Moyo said: “A true African giant has fallen. No sentence about the history of the liberation struggle of southern Africa will be complete without the name Kenneth Kaunda. A trailblazing nationalist. Our KK. Tiende pamodzi ndim’tima umodzi. Stand and sing of Zambia proud and free.”

Outside Africa, tributes came from Narenda Modi, the Prime Minister of India, who said: “Saddened to hear of the demise of Dr. Kenneth David Kaunda, a respected world leader and statesman. My deepest condolences to his family and the people of Zambia.”

Reverend Jesse Jackson, the American civil rights legend said: “Zambia and Africa have lost a champion of freedom and I have lost a true friend in Former President, Kenneth Kaunda. He fought apartheid and colonialism to safe humanity. A freedom fighter!!! RIP Comrade KK!”.

Kaunda ruled Zambia from 1964, when the southern African nation won its independence from Britain, until 1991. He was among the continent’s few surviving liberation heroes.


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