Zambia’s Founding President Kenneth Kaunda Dies at Age 97

Zambia’s founding president, Kenneth Kaunda, has died on June 17 at the age of 97 at a military hospital in the Lusaka capital.

Kaunda passed away at the Maina Soko hospital after being admitted for pneumonia last June 14.

“I learnt of your passing this afternoon with great sadness,” President Edgar Chagwa Lungu said on social media, confirming Kaunda’s passing.

“On behalf of the entire nation and on my own behalf, I pray that the entire Kaunda family is comforted as we mourn our First President and true African icon,” Lungu further said.

Authorities declared 21 days of national mourning.

Former Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar said that Kaunda was “the last of his generation that epitomized the liberation struggle on the African continent.”

“His passing away is the end of an era. We remain eternally grateful for his services to Zambia and the continent,” Abubakar further said on Twitter.

Kaunda was one of Africa’s last surviving liberation leaders who fought against repressive, racist regimes in the continent. He founded the United National Independence Party, which campaigned against British colonial rule.

Kaunda ruled Zambia from 1964, when the south African nation gained independence from Britain, to 1991, when he lost to a multi-party presidential elections following massive protests against his one-party rule.

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