Lusaka Times, June 17, 2021. President Edgar Lungu has declared 21 days of national mourning in honor of first Republican President Dr. Kenneth Kaunda who died this afternoon in Lusaka. Secretary to Cabinet Dr. Simon Miti on behalf of President Edgar Lungu announced that Dr. Kenneth Kaunda died this afternoon at 14:30 hours. “It is with deep regret and sorrow that I announce to the nation and the international community the passing of our beloved founding father, icon, and global statesman Kenneth Kaunda, First President of Zambia,” President Lungu stated in a statement.
In honor of the late First President, President Lungu has since declared 21 days of national mourning. He explained that during the 21 days period, all activities of entertainment nature will be suspended with immediate effect and that all flags should fly at half-mast. “Government through the Cabinet Office will guide on the details of the funeral and burial programme,” he said.
He indicated that the funeral processions will take into account and in consideration of the COVID-19 guidelines as prescribed by the Ministry of Health. “On behalf of government and the people of Zambia, President Lungu sends a message of condolences to the bereaved family of the late Dr. Kaunda,” Dr Miti stated. Dr. Kaunda was receiving medical attention and admitted at Maina Soko Medical Centre on June 14, 2021.
In the 1950s, Dr Kaunda was a key figure in Zambia’s struggle for independence in what was then Northern Rhodesia’s independence movement from Britain and became president following independence in 1964. As leader of the United National Independence Party (UNIP), Dr Kaunda then led the country for 27 years and stepped down after losing the 1991 elections to the late second President, Fredrick Chiluba of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD).
Popularly known as KK, was a strong supporter of efforts to end apartheid in South Africa and was also a leading supporter of liberation movements in Mozambique and what is now called Zimbabwe. Meanwhile, the United States Embassy in Zambia has joined the Zambian people and the international community in mourning the passing of First Republican President Kenneth Kaunda.
This is according to a statement that the US Embassy in Zambia issued to ZANIS in Lusaka this evening. “President Kaunda is known to the Zambian people as the Founding Father of the Republic of Zambia. He was steadfast in uniting Zambia’s 73 tribes through his commitment to “One Zambia, One Nation.” He advocated against discrimination of people living with HIV/AIDS and was a tireless advocate for the poor and marginalized,” the statement added.
“We extend to his family and the people of Zambia our condolences. We honor his memory and his service to the people of Zambia and across Africa. We mourn his passing. May his soul rest in eternal peace,” reads the statement.