Zambia's founding President Kenneth Kaunda dies at 97

President Lungu declares 21-day national mourning over liberation hero's death

James Kunda   | 17.06.2021
Zambia's founding President Kenneth Kaunda dies at 97

LUSAKA, Zambia

Zambia's founding president Kenneth Kaunda, 97, passed away in the nation's capital Lusaka, his family and officials announced on Thursday.

A key figure who led the country's independence struggle, Kaunda was admitted to a hospital in Lusaka on Monday with pneumonia. His aides said he was not suffering from COVID-19.

The liberation hero's death left a huge gap on the continent as he was instrumental in the liberation of many African countries.

Kaunda was the only surviving founder of the Organization of African Unity, the present day African Union (AU).

He became the Southern African country's president following independence in 1964.

After losing multi-party elections in 1991, he stepped down from the office.

Kaunda strongly supported efforts to end apartheid in South Africa. He was also a staunch backer of liberation movements in Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

Terming his death a great loss for the country and the continent, President Edgar Lungu declared 21 days of national mourning.

"Other arrangements will be announced in due course," the principal secretary to the president and secretary to the cabinet, Simon Miti, announced in a televised national address on Thursday evening.​​​​​​​

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