Kenneth Kaunda, Zambia’s founding father, is dead | Dailytrust

Kenneth Kaunda, Zambia’s founding father, is dead

Kenneth Kaunda, Zambia’s founding president, has died at the age of 97.

Popularly known as “KK”, the Zambian leader died at the Maina Soko Medical Centre, a military hospital in Lusaka, the country’s capital, where he was being treated for pneumonia.

“On behalf of the entire nation and on my own behalf, I pray that the entire Kaunda family is comforted as we mourn our first president and true African icon,” President Edgar Lungu said in a statement.

He has declared 21 days of mourning for the liberation hero who ruled from 1964 until 1991.

In 1991, he was forced to hold the first multi-party elections for 23 years and he lost to long-time foe, Frederick Chiluba.

Zambia’s main opposition, United Party for National Development (UPND), and its alliance partners have announced the suspension of all campaign activities ahead of the 12 August elections in honour of Kaunda.

“As the nation comes together in mourning, remembrance and celebration of the life of our dearly departed founding father of our nation, Dr. Kenneth David Kaunda, it is agreed and therefore directed that the UPND and all our alliance partners, suspend all active mobilization activities until further notice,” UPND president Hakainde Hichilema said in a statement.

“It is also agreed and therefore directed that all our people out on the campaign trail across the country, immediately call off all campaigns and return to their original bases as the nation comes together in unity and pay our respects to our nation’s founding father.”

Born on April 28, 1924, he was the youngest of eight children born to an ordained Church of Scotland missionary and teacher, an immigrant from Malawi.

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

Kaunda founded the Zambian African National Congress, later becoming the head of the United National Independence Party (UNIP).

Kaunda was not ashamed to weep in public and had a unique speaking style, emphasising key thoughts by repeating whole sentences, his trademark white handkerchief in his left hand.

He espoused an ideology of “humanism” mixing Christian ethics, traditional African values and socialistic principles.

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