Global leaders have been sending their tributes in mourning Zambia’s founding President Kenneth Kaunda who died on Thursday.
He was 97.
Reverend Jesse Jackson said Zambia and Africa have lost a champion of freedom and that he has have lost a true friend in Dr. Kaunda.
“He fought apartheid and colonialism to safe humanity. A freedom fighter!!! RIP Comrade KK!”
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was saddened at the passing on of Dr Kaunda.
“Saddened to learn of the death of Kenneth Kaunda. We send our deepest condolences and our thoughts are with the people of Zambia at this difficult time,” Mr Johnson said in a tweet.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab extended the UK’s condolences following the death of Dr. Kaunda describing him as a defining figure in Zambia’s independence movement.
“The UK Government extends its sincere condolences to the people of the Republic of Zambia on the death of former President Kenneth Kaunda. Dr Kaunda was the defining figure in Zambia’s independence movement and laid the successful foundations of your nation, through his leadership, vision, and famous mantra ‘One Zambia One Nation’. He was greatly admired too as a staunch activist against apartheid and a campaigner to address HIV/AIDS.”
“Our thoughts are with his family and the people of Zambia at this time of mourning,” he said in a statement.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa also described Dr Kaunda as a pioneering champion of a decolonised, united and prosperous Africa.
“This evening we bow our heads in grief at the passing of a beloved and rightfully revered father of African independence and unity – President Kenneth “KK” Kaunda. We are united in our sadness with the Kaunda family and the government and people of the Republic of Zambia,” he said in a statement.
“We are united in our sadness with the people of our region and continent, to whom Kenneth Kaunda’s leadership was a source of inspiration and resilience. President Kaunda dedicated his 97 long years to the liberation and service of the people of Zambia.”
President Ramaphosa said Dr Kaunda devoted himself and the Zambian people to supporting liberation movements around the region in their quest for independence and freedom.
“Steadfast against the intimidation of the apartheid state, he offered Lusaka as the headquarters of the African National Congress in exile. Under his leadership, Zambia provided refuge, care and support to liberation fighters who had been forced to flee the countries of their birth,” he said.
“He stood alongside the people of South Africa at the time of our greatest need and was unwavering in his desire for the achievement of our freedom. It was in honour of this remarkable contribution that the South African government bestowed on President Kaunda the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo in 2002.”
“Today we recommit ourselves to building the Africa of KK’s vision – an Africa of peace, justice, prosperity and innovation. President Kaunda was at our side to comfort us when we lost our leaders. We remember his moving tribute as we laid Madiba to rest in Qunu.”
“Today, we place ourselves alongside Kenneth Kaunda’s family and the Zambian nation as they mourn this deep loss. As the South African nation, we will never be able to repay the debt of gratitude that we owe to President Kaunda. Nor will we ever forget that it was with the help of this extraordinary leader’s care and solidarity that our freedom and our democracy was won. May his soul rest in peace.”
Zimbabwean President Emerson Mnangagwa described Dr Kaunda as a leader and a liberator.
“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 & the people of Zambia at this time.”
Former Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete said he received the news of the passing on of former President Kenneth Kaunda (KK) with shock and a deep sense of sadness and sorrow.
“I convey my heartfelt condolence and sympathies to Your Excellency President Edgar Lungu, KK’s family and the friendly people of Zambia.”
President of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki said, “It is with an indescribable sense of loss that the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat learnt of the passing of H. E. Kenneth Kaunda, the first president of the Republic of Zambia and one of the Founding Fathers of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU).”
“Africa has lost one of its finest sons. He embodied the true sense of Pan-Africanism, placing his own country Zambia at grave risk in order to provide safe harbour for the liberation movements of Southern Africa as well as its peoples.”
“His championing of the Frontline States to defeat Apartheid and white minority rule in Southern Africa laid the foundation for what we call regional integration today.”
He said the African Union stands in solidarity with the Kaunda family, the people and the Government of the Republic of Zambia in mourn and honouring the life of a freedom fighter, statesman, visionary and liberation struggle icon.”
Bostwana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi who has since declared a seven day period of mourning in his country described Dr Kaunda as Bostwana’s best friend.
“I have learnt of the demise of Dr. Kenneth Kaunda the founding father of the Republic of Zambia, a great statesman, and African leader. Dr Kaunda’s death is a loss to his compatriots in Zambia, their friends in Botswana, and the continent of Africa. Dr. Kaunda was Botswana’s best friend and together with the likes of Sir Seretse Khama, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere championed the liberation and independence of our region.”
“We send our condolences to the people of Zambia during this trying time. In honour of this great son of the soil, I have declared a seven-day mourning period in Botswana during which all flags shall fly at half-mast.”
Zimbabwe’s opposition leader Nelson Chamisa wrote, “A key African liberation visionary, a stalwart on whose shoulders we all stand. A model of what one nation can do to birth & benefit all. You fought great.Your legacy is our call of duty! On behalf of the New Africa,RIP Our KK, Father Africa. One Africa,One people!”
In Uganda, opposition leader Bobbi Wine wrote, “I join all freedom-loving people in mourning Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, Zambia’s founding President. He’s been one of the continent’s few surviving independence heroes.
I send sympathies to the people of Zambia and the family of the deceased statesman. May his soul rest in perfect peace.”
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