Tributes are being paid to the departed statesman, global icon and founding father, the first President of the Republic of Zambia, Dr. Kenneth David Buchizya Kaunda who died peacefully in the afternoon of Thursday at Maina Soko Medical Centre in Lusaka at about 1430h.
Dr. Kenneth Kaunda led Zambians in the struggle for freedom and independence from the colonials in the then Northern Rhodesia in what many, not only in Zambia but the whole continent of Africa, describe Dr. Kaunda as one of the global icons of Africa.
Popularly renown as KK, Dr. Kaunda was born a musician and a football fan, most of the time he was busy playing with his guitar even carrying it to wherever he was going inside or outside Zambia and with regards to football, he was seen patronising most of the Zambian games giving support to Chipolopolo boys to do better and it is no wonder, Zambia became a force to reckon with as KK 11 in the reign of Dr. Kaunda.
As a music lover, most of the time before he was set to speak, he used to sing a popular song in Zambian Chinyanja, ‘’Tiyende Pamodzi ndi mtima Umodzi’’ meaning let’s move together as one for Africa to develop making this song to be popular across Africa and it was sang in different languages same as the National Anthem of Africa [God help Africa].
In the statement released on Thursday reads…….”It is with deep REGRET and sorrow that His Excellency Dr. Edgar Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia announces to the nation and the international community, the passing of our beloved founding father, icon and global statesman, His Excellency, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, first President of the Republic of Zambia.”
Dr. Kaunda was admitted to Maina Soko Medical Centre, a Military Hospital in Lusaka after suffering from Pneumonia at the age of 97. His spouse, Bettie Kaunda born in 1946 died in 2012, they both hailed from Nkhata-bay in Malawi. They moved to Zambia where his father and mother were teachers by profession and Pastor, interestingly his mother was the first Black African to teach in schools in the then, Northern Rhodesia.
Born as KK on 28th April, 1928 in Northern Rhodesia, led Zambia to independence from 1964 -1991 after losing to the first multi-party elections held in the country that saw many Zambians vote for change from United National Independence Party [UNIP] to other parties, one being Movement for Multiparty Democracy [MMD], a thing which has grown roots in Zambia to this day.
His Excellency Dr. Edgar Lungu of Zambia has since declared 21 days of national mourning in honor of the late Dr. Kenneth Kaunda saying during this period, all activities of entertainment nature are suspended with immediate effect and all flags will fly at half- mast.
“…The Government of Zambia through Cabinet office, will guide the public on the details of the Funeral and Burial programme for the first President, taking into consideration the Covid-19 guidelines as prescribed by the Ministry of Health, President Dr. Edgar Lungu has expressed on his behalf, Government and the people of Zambia deepest condolences to the family of Dr. Kenneth Kaunda…,’’ reads the statement in part.
By Vincent Gunde