Lusaka, June 17, 2021, ZANIS—Zambia’s first Republican President Kenneth Kaunda has died at the age of 97.
ZANIS reports that Secretary to the Cabinet, Simon Miti who announced the death of Dr Kaunda on Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) on behalf of President Edgar Lungu this evening, said he died peacefully at 14:30 hours at Maina Soko Military Hospital in Lusaka today, June 17, 2021.
“It is with deep regret and sorrow that I announce to the nation and the international community the passing of our beloved founding father, icon and global statesman Kenneth Kaunda, First President of Zambia,” President Lungu stated in a statement.
In honor of the late First President, President Lungu has since declared 21 days of national mourning.
He explained that during the 21 days period, all activities of entertainment nature will be suspended with immediate effect and that all flags should fly at half-mast.
“Government through the Cabinet Office will guide on the details of the funeral and burial programme,” he said.
He indicated that the funeral processions will take into account and in consideration of the COVID-19 guidelines as prescribed by the Ministry of Health.
“On behalf of government and the people of Zambia, President Lungu sends a message of condolences to the bereaved family of the late Dr. Kaunda,” Dr Miti stated.
Dr. Kaunda was receiving medical attention and admitted at Maina Soko Medical Centre on June 14, 2021.
In the 1950s, Dr Kaunda was a key figure in Zambia’s struggle for independence in what was then Northern Rhodesia’s independence movement from Britain and became president following independence in 1964.
As leader of the United National Independence Party (UNIP), Dr Kaunda then led the country for 27 years and stepped down after losing the 1991 elections to the late second President, Fredrick Chiluba of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD).
Popularly known as KK, was a strong supporter of efforts to end apartheid in South Africa and was also a leading supporter of liberation movements in Mozambique and what is now called Zimbabwe.