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

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His dying was confirmed by Zambia’s present President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, who mentioned in a Facebook post Thursday: “I learnt of your passing this afternoon with nice unhappiness.

“On behalf of all the nation and alone 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 being handled for an undisclosed sickness at a army hospital within the capital Lusaka, Lungu’s workplace mentioned in a press assertion on Monday. His workplace informed Reuters on Tuesday he was being handled for pneumonia.

Kaunda was Zambia’s first president following the southern African nation’s independence from Britain. He dominated from 1964 till 1991 and is named one of many giants within the continent’s struggle towards colonialism.

Kaunda is revered for his battle for Zambia’s independence, which sought freedom from white minority rule within the Nineteen Fifties.

His agitation to liberate Northern Rhodesia — which might later change into unbiased because the Republic of Zambia — from what he described because the “worst type of segregation” from a repressive colonial regime, spurred independence actions throughout Africa.

Kaunda was imprisoned within the late Nineteen Fifties for his troubles. Talking to CNN in 2010, Kaunda mentioned his imprisonment was rewarding. “I believe I succeeded in the long run nevertheless it meant going into jail defying unjust legal guidelines, being arrested by the police, overwhelmed up, thrown into jail,” he mentioned.

Within the early Sixties, Kaunda joined energetic politics shortly after his launch from jail, turning into the chief of the newly fashioned United Nationwide Independence Occasion (UNIP).

Criticized for one-party rule

Following Zambia’s independence in 1964, Kaunda emerged because the nation’s first president and saved his grip on energy for 27 years below a one-party rule.

Kaunda was extensively criticized and accused of championing a dictatorship regime over his desire for a one-party system. He informed CNN his resolution to uphold a single-party association was justified and never borne out of a dictatorship.

“…I’ve by no means been a dictator. It (a one-party system) was a cut price with the folks. However even then I knew it was not the very best factor to do. However in that scenario it was the one method out,” he defined, stating that Zambia’s liberation from colonialism couldn’t have been achieved with a multi-party system.

“My colleagues and I made a decision we’ll go into one social gathering. The explanation for that, there was no method, no method in any respect through which we might have fought and defeated colonialism throughout us, with so many events in Zambia at the moment. No method in any respect,” Kaunda informed CNN.

Kaunda was one of many first African leaders handy over energy peacefully in 1991 after standard protests pressured him to permit multi-party elections, which he misplaced to Fredrick Chiluba.

He was a charismatic politician whose standard beginnings after Zambia’s independence 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 towards HIV/AIDS, after the illness claimed the lifetime of one in every of his youngsters. He was among the many final residing leaders of Africa’s independence battle.

Throughout 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 remains to be generally known as a Kaunda go well with in lots of elements of Africa.

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

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