Mouthpiece NGR reports that Zambia’s founding president and liberation hero, Kenneth Kaunda is dead.
This online news platform understands that the former President died at a military hospital in Lusaka where he was being treated for pneumonia, his son, Kambarage, said on Thursday.
The former President who died at age 97, ruled Zambia from 1964, when the southern African nation won its independence from Britain, until 1991, and afterwards become one of Africa’s most committed activists against HIV/AIDS.
“I am sad to inform (members) we have lost Mzee (the old man). Let’s pray for him,” Kambarage said on the late president’s Facebook page.
Kaunda had been feeling unwell and had been admitted to the Maina Soko Medical Centre in Lusaka earlier this week.
Although Zambia’s copper-based economy fared badly under his long stewardship, Kaunda will be remembered more for his role as an anti-colonial fighter who stood up to white minority-rule in southern African countries such as Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe.
The former President shared a loss experienced by countless families in Africa when his son Masuzyo died of AIDS in 1986, and he began a personal crusade against the disease.
“This is the biggest challenge for Africa. We must fight AIDS and we must do so now,” he told Reuters news agency in 2002.
“We fought colonialism. We must now use the same zeal to fight AIDS, which threatens to wipe out Africa.”