Tributes are coming in following Zambia’s founding president Kenneth Kaunda’s death yesterday (Thursday), at the age of 97.
“KK”, as he was popularly known, was being treated for pneumonia at the Maina Soko Medical Centre, a military hospital in Lusaka.
“On behalf of the entire nation and on my own behalf, I pray that the entire Kaunda family is comforted as we mourn our first president and true African icon,” President Edgar Lungu said in a message on his Facebook page.
Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa took to Twitter to mourn the late statesman.
“I wish to convey our deepest condolences to the Kaunda family on the passing of HE Dr. Kenneth David Kaunda, a liberator and leader, and the first president of an independent Zambia. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and the people of Zambia at this time.”
In a statement, Zanu PF said the demise of Dr Kenneth Kaunda has sent shockwaves across the continent of Africa and the world at large.
“KK was a collosal, a true African icon, very principled, a pan Africanist, a fountain of wisdom, and a man of courage, perseverance and peace. He hosted and looked after all former liberation movements in southern Africa, including Zimbabwe until their respective countries achieved freedom and independence. All free and peace loving people in southern Africa and beyond owe KK and the people of Zambia deepest and everlasting gratitude. In fact the beaming light of the continent has been extinguished, humanity is in the cold. He has left a legacy of selfless service to mankind. He has departed, leaving behind footprints of integrity, compassion and unity of purpose…”, Zanu PF spokesperson, Ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo said.
Authorities have declared 21 days of mourning for the liberation hero who ruled from 1964, after the southern African nation won its independence from Britain, until 1991.