LUSAKA – The former president of Zambia Kenneth David Kaunda has died at the age of 97, ENN reports. Kaunda was the first president of post-independence Zambia, and he saved as president from 1964 to 1991.

The larger-than-life Kaunda, also known as KK, was born on 28 April 1924 in Chinsali, Zambia and died on 17 June 2021 at a military hospital in Zambia after succumbing to an undisclosed ailment. At the height of his career, Kaunda helped several African states in their march to independence, including Zimbabwe and South Africa. As leader of the United National Independence Party (UNIP), after breaking away from Harry Khumbula’s Northern Rhodesia African National Congress, Kaunda guided Zambia to independence, and was instrumental in pacifying the infamous 1973 tribal and inter-party violence in Zambia through banning all political parties but UNIP in Zambia through a constitutional amendment – the Choma declaration. 

After experiencing a slump in export revenues, Zambia was plunged into an economic crisis, which opened floodgates of international pressure for Kaunda to lift his ban on political nemesis. In 1991, multi-party elections took place, and Kaunda was ousted from power by Frederick Chiluba, who was the leader of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy.

Post-elections, Kaunda dedicated his life to his country and has worked with the government, the development sector, communities and the church in fostering peace and unity in Zambia, and in Africa at large. KK was married to Betty Kaunda, who died in 2012, and he was blessed with 8 children. As a child of an ordained church of Scotland missionary and teacher, KK was a Presbyterian by religion, and a teacher by profession.

Today, Africa mourns Kenneth Kaunda, a liberator, a father figure, a teacher, a leader and a preacher.