Africa mourns Zambia’s ex-president Dr. Kenneth Kaunda

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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. (STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN via VCG)
FILE PHOTO: Former Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda delivers a speech during the closing ceremony of the 30th Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit in Windhoek, Namibia. (STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN via VCG)

African leaders have condoled with Zambia following the loss of the country’s first president Dr. Kenneth Kaunda.

Dr. Kaunda, who ruled the copper mining nation from 1964 until 1991, died at age of 97.

He was admitted to a military hospital in the capital, Lusaka, on Monday suffering from pneumonia. His aides said he did not have COVID-19.

Following his death, various leaders from across the continent have conveyed messages of condolence, many describing him as a pan-Africanist.

“His commitment to Africa’s liberation will never be forgotten. His leadership on the continent and legacy of Pan-Africanism will live on for generations to come,” said Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame.

“Dr. Kaunda was an iconic statesman of the highest credentials and selfless dedication to the interests of his own country as well as the wellbeing of neighbors and humankind at large,” said Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi in his message of condolence.

Masisi also declared a seven-day mourning period in his country in honor of Dr. Kaunda.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said Dr Kaunda’s contributions will long be remembered even after his death.

“Former President Kaunda was a great leader full of wisdom who remained actively engaged in promoting the interests of the African continent for many years after leaving office. We will always remember and cherish his huge contribution to the welfare of the people of Zambia and Africa as a whole,” said Kenyatta.

On his part, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa hailed Dr. Kaunda’s contribution to the continent’s struggle for independence from colonialists, noting that he was unwavering in his desire for the achievement of South Africa’s freedom.

“Kenneth Kaunda was a pioneering champion of a decolonised, united and prosperous Africa. He represented his country and continent with distinction on global platforms,” said Ramaphosa.

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni also hailed the former Zambian president’s contribution to Africa’s struggle against colonialists.

“In his long life, Mzee Kaunda made his contribution to the freedom of Africa. I salute his contribution and I salute his memory. May His soul rest in eternal peace,” said Museveni.

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