Juba, South Sudan,
June 17, 2021 – Zambian Former and Founding President Kenneth Kaunda has died at age 97, Nyamilepedia established.
The death was first announced through a tweet Thursday evening by Lukwesa Burak, a Zambian journalist working for the BBC.
Kaunda was the leader of the United National Independence Party (UNIP). He led the struggle for independence from British rule.
Unimpressed with Harry Nkumbula’s leadership of the Northern Rhodesian African National Congress at the time, he broke away and founded the Zambian African National Congress, later becoming the head of the United National Independence Party (UNIP).
Kaunda was the first President of independent Zambia. In 1973 following tribal and inter-party violence, all political parties except UNIP were banned through an amendment of the constitution after the signing of the Choma Declaration.
At the same time, Kaunda oversaw the acquisition of majority stakes in key foreign-owned companies. The oil crisis of 1973 and a slump in export revenues put Zambia in a state of economic crisis.
International pressure forced Kaunda to change the rules that had kept him in power. Multi-party elections took place in 1991, in which Frederick Chiluba, the leader of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy, ousted Kaunda.
Kaunda was briefly stripped of Zambian citizenship in 1999, but the decision was overturned the following year. At 97, he was the oldest living former Zambian president. On 14 June 2021 Kaunda was admitted to the hospital for treatment of an unspecified disease.
Kaunda is a renowned Pan African who stood side-to-side and shared the same vision for the African continent with fellow Pan Africans like Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Kwame Nkruma of Ghana, Dr. Apollo Milton Obote of Uganda, and Nelson Mandela of South Africa.
The nonagenarian was also part of the ambitious Organization of African Unity (OAU) now renamed to the African Union (AU).