Zambian President Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, has visited the home of the late Zambian founding father and former President, Dr Kenneth Kaunda, to pay tribute. Kaunda was hospitalised last week and died on Thursday aged 97.

KK, as Kaunda was affectionately known, ruled Zambia from 1964 to 1991 after leading the country to independence from Britain. He is also lauded for his contribution to in assisting other Southern African countries gain independence from minority rule.

Reflecting on the life and times of Kenneth “KK” Kaunda with Thabo Mbeki:

Paying tribute to Kaunda, Lungu described his passing as a great loss to his family, Zambia, the southern African region, Africa and the world as a whole.

Lungu has described Kaunda as a selfless leader.

“We are all well aware that for our founding father, it was not enough for his country, Zambia, to be liberated when the region and the African Continent remained bonded in the shackles of colonialism and apartheid. He soldiered on to seek freedom for humanity. Today, we mourn an iconic pan-Africanist and global statesman, who was selfless, seeing the goodness in others first, before himself,” he says.

The life and times of the late former Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda:

Kaunda’s leadership

Lungu says Kaunda’s ideals on humanism, informed by his Christian faith and values, defined his leadership skills, his qualities and vision for Zambia.

“The ideals of humanism, which were founded upon his strong Christian faith and values, defined his leadership qualities and the vision that he embodied for Zambia, the African continent and the world at large. His exemplary statesmanship, as steadfast and unwavering as he was renowned, gained him international stature as he projected his noble ideals on the international stage, while seeking the best for mankind,” says Lungu.

Lungu passed his condolences to Kaunda’s family and all Zambians, urging them to use the passing to ignite them, to hold firmly and to embrace the “One Zambia, one Nation” slogan.

In conversation with Kenneth Kaunda’s son, Kaweche Kaunda:

AU pays tribute to Kaunda

The African Union (AU) says Kaunda was one of the founding fathers of the Organisation of African Unity. The OAU later became the AU.

AU Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, in a statement describes the late Kaunda as one of Africa’s finest sons. As one of the fighters of the liberation of the continent from colonial rule, the AU says Kaunda represented the true sense of Pan-Africanism.

His speeches in different African meetings preached unity, integration and the need to fight challenges like poverty, hunger and diseases.

From 2002 he began championing the anti-HIV AIDS campaign. Kaunda was involved in conflict resolution efforts in the continent. These included mediating in the territorial dispute between Kenya and Somalia, and again in 2018 In Kenya after the post-election violence.

He also mediated in the political crisis in Zimbabwe.

In May 2021, the AU gave him an award to recognise the role and contributions he made to the liberation of Africa and its people.

Kenneth Kaunda’s obituary with Sophie Mokoena: