Kenneth Kaunda, the former president of Zambia, has died at the age of 97. Kaunda, who is the first democratically elected president of the southern African nation, was admitted to a military hospital on Monday to undergo treatment for pneumonia, and his son, Kambarage confirmed his death on Thursday.
Kaunda, or ‘KK’ as he was affectionately known by Zambians and indeed the world over, was born at Lubwa Mission in Chinsali in the Northern Province of the then Northern Rhodesia on the 28th of April 1924 and was the youngest in a family of eight children born to a Church of Scotland missionary and a Malawian immigrant. When he went into politics, he broke away from Harry Nkumbula’s Northern Rhodesian African National Congress to form the Zambian African National Congress. He was the initial president of Zambia from 1964 until he was ousted by Fredrick Chiluba of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy in 1991 following the economic slump of the late 80s in the southern African country.
Kenneth Kaunda was admitted to Maina Soko Hospital, a military establishment in the Zambian capital, Lusaka on the 14th of June. The statement by his office stated that KK had been unwell for quite some time and had been admitted to the hospital without giving further details. However, the statement made an appeal to Zambians and the international community to pray for him as the doctors and medical personnel were doing everything in their power to ensure that the former statesman recovered.
In a moving tribute to the former leader, Kalusha Bwalya, the legendary Zambian national team soccer player, had this to say on his Twitter page: “Goodbye to you President Kenneth Kaunda. I am and will always be a proud member of the “KK11”. Dignity & honor. May your dear soul Rest in Eternal Peace, knowing the immense impact you made on all of us Zambians, Africans, and the World at large. Sincerest condolences to the family.”