Monday, July 26, 2021
Home Global Issues Kenneth Kaunda, Zambia's charismatic first president, is dead at 97

Kenneth Kaunda, Zambia’s charismatic first president, is dead at 97

His demise was confirmed by Zambia’s present President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, who mentioned in a Facebook submit Thursday: “I learnt of your passing this afternoon with great sadness.

“On behalf of all the nation and by myself behalf I pray that all the Kaunda household is comforted as we mourn our First President and true African icon,” the President added.

Kaunda was Zambia’s first president following the southern African country’s independence from Britain. He ruled from 1964 until 1991 and is known as one of the giants in the continent’s fight against colonialism.

He was being treated for an undisclosed illness at a military hospital in the capital Lusaka, his office said in a press statement on Monday. His office told Reuters on Tuesday he was being treated for pneumonia.

Kaunda was one of the first African leaders to hand over power peacefully in 1991 after popular protests forced him to allow multi-party elections, which he lost to Fredrick Chiluba.

Watch CNN’s interview with Kaunda in 2010

He was a charismatic politician whose fashionable beginnings after Zambia’s independence more and more grew autocratic as he outlawed political events, and step by step misplaced public assist as his 27-year rule wound down.

He grew to become a beloved African statesman in his post-presidency, dedicating a lot of his time to the struggle in opposition to HIV/AIDS. He was among the many final residing leaders of Africa’s independence battle.

During his time period, he supported Black majority rule in South Africa and present-day Zimbabwe and hosted anti-apartheid leaders in Zambia. His signature safari jacket paired with a proper trouser is nonetheless generally known as a Kaunda swimsuit in lots of components of Africa.

A 21-day interval of nationwide mourning has been declared, Simon Miti, Secretary to the Cabinet and Principal Private Secretary to the President, introduced on state TV.

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