Kenneth Kaunda, the 97-year-old former president of Zambia, died peacefully at 2:30 p.m. (1230 GMT) on Thursday of pneumonia in a military hospital where he had been receiving treatment since Monday. The news comes from the administration, which has designated 21 days of national mourning, as reported on television by Cabinet Secretary Simon Miti. President Edgar Lungu expressed his great regret and sorrow on the death of the nation’s revered founding father, symbol, and worldwide statesman.
On Facebook, Lungu described him as a “genuine African icon,” saying, “You have gone at a moment we least expected.” In honor of the now-deceased leader, who was lovingly known as “KK” by his people, the government decreed 21 days of national mourning, with flags flying at half-mast and all forms of entertainment suspended.
Lucksone Musendo, a Lusaka local, remembers the African leader with pride. “KK was an admirable hero. He battled for our mother Zambia’s independence, and I will always remember and appreciate what he done for us Zambians.” Helen Tembo, another local, is mourning the loss of the African treasure. “I am in a horrible mood. I didn’t think he was gone until I saw posters on social media and thought, “OK.” That is very unfortunate for us.”
Kenneth Kaunda was the leader of the country’s primary nationalist party, the left-of-centre United National Independence Party (UNIP), when the colonial era ended. KK became dubbed as “Africa’s Gandhi” during his 27 years in power following Zambia’s independence from Britain on October 28, 1964, due to his activism for autonomous movement, racial justice, and equality for black people in other countries in the region.
Kaunda even collaborated with the African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa. His nonviolent, independence-related approach in the 1960s earned him the moniker. In the first multi-party elections in 1991, he eventually lost power to trade unionist Fredrick Chiluba.
Despite the fact that numerous political parties have taken power after Kaunda left the government, the landlocked southern African country has remained relatively stable. Later in life, Kaunda rose to prominence as an African politician, assisting in the mediation of crises in Zimbabwe and Kenya. The news of his death began to circulate on social media, and by the time the government formally announced it, Zambians were glued to their television screens in public areas.