Kenneth Kaunda death: Zambia founding father dead at 97
Kenneth David Buchizya Kaunda, the founding father of Zambia is dead.
The 97-year-old served as Zambian president from 1964 to 1991.
Kenneth Kaunda’s death was announced on Thursday, 17 June, 2021.
“I learnt of your passing this afternoon with great sadness.”
Zambian President Edgar Lungu wrote as he confirmed Kaunda’s death.
The Zambian elder statesman was admitted to a hospital in Lusaka earlier this week.
Kaunda suffered from pneumonia last Tuesday when he was admitted at the hospital, with a minor chest infection.
The former Zambian president is one of the founding leaders of post-colonial Africa.
How Kenneth Kaunda became Zambia’s founding father
Kenneth Kaunda was Zambia’s first president and a giant pillar during the fight against colonialism.
He became Zambia’s founding president at the age of 40 in 1964 after colonial rule.
Kenneth Kaunda led Zambia from independence from Britain in 1964 until he was defeated in a multi-party elections in 1991.
Kaunda, the youngest of eight children in his family, was a school teacher before he joined the independence struggle.
This was when he became known for playing guitar and composing liberation songs.
That time he also traveled around the country to drum up support for the campaign against colonial rule.
Popularly known as KK, during his presidency he become a tough critic of apartheid South Africa.
Kenneth David Buchizya Kaunda also frowned on white-minority rule in the then Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe.
And he allowed groups that were fighting apartheid, like the African National Congress (ANC), to make Zambia there base.
Kaunda made huge strides towards improving the lot of Zambians.
But also introduced a one-party state in 1973.
Mr. Kaunda was the only candidate for elections in 1978, 1983 and 1987 – and scored more than 80% of the vote each time.
Within his own party, he changed the rules to keep getting selected as the only candidate.
Eventually, Zambians feel Kaunda has overstayed his time in office and they voted him out of office in 1991 after mass protests forced him to reintroduce multi-party elections.