Zambia’s Founding Leader Kaunda Laid To Rest

Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi pays his last respects to the late former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda during his state memorial service in Lusaka on July 2, 2021.  AFP

 

Zambia’s founding leader Kenneth Kaunda was laid to rest at the country’s presidential burial site on Wednesday despite an 11th-hour bid by some of his relatives to block the interment.

Kaunda, who was also a hero of the struggle against white rule in southern Africa, died last month at the age of 97.

Some of his relatives had wanted him buried at his farm next to his late wife Betty, with whom he had 10 children.

But the burial proceeded without incident at Embassy Park, a special cemetery dedicated for the country’s leaders.

The funeral cortage carrying the body of the late Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda arrives at the state memorial service for him in Lusaka on July 2, 2021.  AFP

 

His children paid glowing tribute to Kaunda, portraying him as a fighter and teacher whose attributes should be emulated.

“Go well, you fought the good fight of faith, you have finished the race. We will miss you so much,” said one of his daughters, Musata Banda.

“You wanted three more years to get to a hundred, but you will celebrate your 100th birthday in heaven.”

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President Edgar Lungu declared Kaunda’s birthday, April 28, as a national holiday in honour of the first president.

Zambia had already announced three weeks of mouring after his death on on June 17 at the Maina Soko military hospital in Lusaka.

Hundreds of mourners attended a church service before the burial, including Mozambique’s ex-president Joachim Chissano, Zambia’s former president Rupiah Banda and Hakainde Hichilema, the head of the main opposition United Party for National Development (UPND).

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (L) speaks with Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa (R) during the state memorial service of former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda in Lusaka on July 2, 2021.  AFP

 

Leader of Kaunda’s United National Independence Party (UNIP), Trevor Mwamba, urged Zambia to honour Kaunda by holding peaceful elections next month.

The country goes to presidential and legislative election on August 12.

Kaunda’s first-born son, Panji, called for peaceful polls.

“We shall move together as ‘one Zambia, one nation’,” he said, reiterating his father’s motto.

“We have elections, let us preach peace. Stop the violence that has been witnessed.”

Outside the cathedral, Lusaka resident Alex Mwale, 19, also seized the moment to appeal for peaceful voting.

“Kaunda as our father stood for peace. This is what our politicians should learn from this man. He was in the same class with great men like Nelson Mandela,” said Mwale.

AFP

Zambians Give Handkerchief Salute To Fallen Statesman Kaunda

People follow the proceedings during the state memorial service of former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda in Lusaka on July 2, 2021. AFP

 

Mourners waving white handkerchiefs, Kenneth Kaunda’s trademark symbol, gathered at a Lusaka stadium on Friday for a state memorial service for Zambia’s first president, who died last month aged 97.

Neatly distanced in compliance with Covid social distancing rules, scores of mourners stood on the terraces, dancing to dirges and solemn music played by a military band.

A hero of the struggle against white rule in southern Africa, Kaunda died on June 17 at a military hospital where he had been admitted with pneumonia.

He always carried a white handkerchief — an item that he said symbolised love and peace, and which he started carrying while incarcerated during the struggle for independence.

A casket draped in the Zambian flag was driven on a gun carriage into the 60,000-capacity National Heroes Stadium and placed under a white marquee.

Foreign dignitaries in Lusaka to pay their respects include South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta and Ghana’s Nana Akufo-Addo, as well as junior British foreign minister James Duddridge, representing Zambia’s former colonial ruler.

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Ghanian President Nana Akufo-Addo signs the book of condolences during the state memorial service of former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda in Lusaka on July 2, 2021. AFP

 

Kaunda, popularly known by his initials of KK, was president of Zambia for 27 years, taking the helm after the country gained independence in October 1964.

He headed the main nationalist group, the left-of-centre United National Independence Party (UNIP).

He was nicknamed by some “Africa’s Gandhi” for his non-violent, independence-related activism in the 1960s.

He hosted many of the movements fighting for independence or black equality in other countries around the continent — sometimes at a heavy cost.

But his popularity at home waned as he 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.

Zambia declared a period of mourning after his death, with flags flown at half mast, while his body was taken around the country for the public to pay their respects.

He will be buried next Wednesday at the country’s presidential burial site situated opposite the cabinet office in Lusaka.

Some taxi drivers in the capital Lusaka drove with their headlamps on as a way of mourning the founding leader.

“We have agreed here that we will be driving with our lights on as a way of mourning Dr Kaunda, shikulu (grandfather). The loss is too huge, not only here in Zambia but the entire world,” driver Lazarus Daka, 37, told AFP.

AFP

South Africa Honours Zambia’s Kaunda With 10 Mourning Days

(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 28, 1990 shows Zambia’s president Kenneth Kaunda (2nd L) and South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC) leader Nelson Mandela (L) attending a press conference at the Presidential House in Lusaka. (Photo by ALEXANDER JOE / AFP)

 

 

South Africa has declared 10 days of national mourning for Zambia’s founding president Kenneth Kaunda who died at the age of 97 following a bout of pneumonia, the presidency said Friday.

Zambia under Kaunda was one of the countries most opposed to the apartheid government and for decades hosted the exiled African National Congress (ANC) on its soil.

Kaunda was the first foreign leader South African liberation icon Nelson Mandela visited on his release from prison in 1990.

“In remembrance of this great leader the South African government has declared a period of mourning for 10 days with immediate effect,” said a statement from President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office.

Zambia itself is observing 21 days of national mourning, with flags flying at half-mast and all entertainment banned.

Ramaphosa said Kaunda is a “rightfully revered father of African independence and unity” whose “leadership was a source of inspiration and resilience”.

“Under his leadership, Zambia provided refuge, care, and support to liberation fighters who had been forced to flee the countries of their birth,” said Ramaphosa.

“He stood alongside the people of South Africa at the time of our greatest need and was unwavering in his desire for the achievement of our freedom,” said Ramaphosa.

“We will never be able to repay the debt of gratitude” owed to Kaunda, he added.

In neighbouring Botswana, President Mokgweetsi Masisi has ordered seven days of mourning in honour of the “selfless” Kaunda, an “iconic statesman of the highest credentials”.

 

(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 02, 1998 Former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda smiles in his Lusaka home, one day after he was released from custody.  (Photo by ODD ANDERSEN / AFP)

 

Kaunda ruled Zambia for 27 years, taking the helm after the country gained independence from Britain in October 1964.

While in power he hosted many of the movements fighting for independence or black equality in other countries around the region.

‘He Was A Leader Who Loved His Country’: Buhari Pays Tribute To Late Kaunda

In this file photo taken on August 17, 2010, Former and first Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda delivers a speech during the closing ceremony of the 30th Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit in Windhoek, Namibia. (Photo by STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / AFP)

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday paid glowing tributes to the late Zambian leader and one of Africa’s liberation fighters, Kenneth Kaunda. 

Zambia’s first president who ruled for 27 years was confirmed dead following a battle with pneumonia. He was aged 97.

In a statement issued by Garba Shehu, one of his spokesperson, Buhari described Kaunda as someone who showed uncommon love for his country.

The Nigerian leader said the foremost freedom fighter was “one of the greatest African and world leaders of all time who loved his country and people profoundly.”

Buhari equally admitted that Kaunda’s death came as a “great shock because I knew his contributions to the development of not only Zambia but also Africa at large.”

File photo of Zambia’s Foreign Minister Hon Joseph Malanji, and President Muhammadu Buhari, alongside other cabinet members during a meeting held earlier in the year.

 

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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).

And Buhari who concurred that the late leader was instrumental to South Africa’s independence, noted that “we can’t forget in a hurry how Kaunda gave shelter to anti-apartheid freedom fighters from South Africa and from former Rhodesia.”

The late Kaunda leader, Buhari added, “was one of the loudest voices for the liberation of Africa from colonialism and imperialism and he did so with passion and sincerity. It is impossible to reflect on Kaunda’s legacy without acknowledging his selflessness and passion for service.”

He also condoled with Kaunda’s family and Zambians over the development.

Zambia’s Former President Kaunda Hospitalised – Official

(FILES) In this file photo taken on August 17, 2010 Former and first Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda delivers a speech during the closing ceremony of the 30th Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit in Windhoek, Namibia. (Photo by STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / AFP)

 

Zambia’s founding father and former president Kenneth Kaunda has been admitted to hospital, his office said Monday.

In a terse statement, it said Kaunda, 97, “has been unwell and was admitted to… Maina Soko Medical Centre,” a military hospital in the capital Lusaka. It gave no further details.

Kaunda ruled Zambia for 27 years, taking the helm after the country gained independence from Britain in October 1964.

The statement said Kaunda was asking Zambians and the international community to pray for him “as the medical team is doing everything possible to ensure that he recovers”.

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.

Affectionately known as “KK”, 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.

When organisers attempted to usher him away from the podium after he ran over his allotted time, he drew laughs by saying they were “trying to control an old man who fought the Boers”, or Afrikaners — the white descendants of South Africa’s first Dutch settlers.

Mandela is a Blessed Child from God – President Kaunda

The former president of Zambia, Kenneth Kaunda has joined other leaders in paying tribute to the late South African president, Nelson Mandela.

President Kaunda described Madiba as a blessed child from God Almighty.

He said that the late former president never discriminated but brought together all the regions in Africa both black and white.

“Mandela believed that once you work together, there will be peace and unity.

“Nelson Mandela followed the commandments of the lord, which says love thy neighbour as thy self.

“He is no more with us in terms of life but he is still our “Madiba sent to us by God,” he said in his emotional tribute.