Lusaka Times, July 2, 2021. African and foreign dignitaries and notable figures have paid glowing and moving tributes to Zambia’s founding father and First President Kenneth Kaunda during a state funeral attended by over 4,000 people at the Show grounds in the capital city, Lusaka. Accolades and tributes resonated in the main arena of the Lusaka show grounds as generations of African and World leaders, past and present, paid their last respects to Africa’s last surviving liberation giant.
President Edgar Lungu and first lady Esther Lungu pay last respect to the late President Kaunda during the state funeral service at the show grounds
Zambia’s sixth President, Edgar Lungu, accompanied by First Lady Esther Lungu, led eight African Presidents, representatives of Heads of State and Governments, foreign dignitaries, the Kaunda family and general public to say farewell to Dr Kaunda.
African leaders that attended the funeral of Dr Kaunda include Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, Hage Geingob of Namibia, Felipe Nyusi of Mozambique, who is also Southern African Development Community (SADC) Chairperson, Nana Akufo Addo of Ghana, Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe, Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana, Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi and Prime Minister of Lesotho Moeketsi Majoro.
Other leaders include Tanzania’s former President Jakaya Kikwete, Angolan Vice President Bernito de Sousa, African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki, Speaker of Ethiopia Tagesse Chafo, Serbia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikola Selakovic , British Minister for African Affairs James Duddridge, Commonwealth Secretary General, Patricia Scotland, and Democratic Republic of Congo ‘s (DRC) Presidential Affairs Minister Nana Kuimba.
Zambia’s fourth President Rupiah Banda, and his wife Thandiwe, former Vice Presidents, Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini, Acting Chief Justice Micheal Musonda, Secretary to Cabinet Simon Miti, PF Secretary General Davies Mwila, and other political party leaders, senior government, military , and PF officials attended the state funeral.
Members of the Diplomatic Corp , the general public and officials from the United National Independence Party (UNIP) , Dr Kaunda’s former party, also attended the state funeral. When the funeral cortege carrying Dr Kaunda’s body entered the main arena at the Lusaka Show grounds, scores of people in the arena waved white handkerchiefs , a trademark that became a tradition and a part of his life. The military gave Dr Kaunda’s body a 21 gun salute and a fly past by the Zambia Airforce.
President Lungu said he was devastated when he received news of the death of Dr Kaunda. He said he had made it a must since becoming President, to spend time with Dr Kaunda during his birthdays to show his and the country’s indebtedness to him. President Lungu described Dr Kaunda as a Legend, an African political giant, freedom fighter, patriot and true international statesman.
Mr Lungu said Dr Kaunda laid the foundation for Zambia’s socio economic development with provision of health and free education being central. President Lungu said he was a beneficiary of Dr Kaunda’s free education which enabled him to be President just like his Zimbabwean counterpart Emmerson Mnangagwa. Mr Lungu said he had learnt values of Patriotism and Unity from Dr Kaunda and was not surprised by the many Heads of States and foreign dignitaries that came to his funeral. President Lungu said Africa and the World remember and mourn Dr Kaunda due to his efforts of liberating Africa and fighting injustice and inequality.
Kenya´s President of Uhuru Kenyatta pay his last respect to the late President Kaunda during the state funeral service at the show grounds.
Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta, whose father Jomo Kenyatta worked with Dr Kaunda in strategizing the liberation of many African States and creation of the Organisation of African Unity said Zambia’s First President mentored and inspired him to political leadership and service. Mr Kenyatta said he remembers vividly how Dr Kaunda sacrificed the country and worked tirelessly with other African leaders like Jomo Kenyatta and Julius Nyerere to liberate Africa, for Africa to be master of her own destiny. “ Dr Kaunda taught Africa that there’s life after political office when he graciously accepted the will of Zambian voters,” he said.
Namibia´s President of Hage Geingob pay his last respect to the late President Kaunda during the state funeral service at the show grounds.
Namibian President Hage Geingob described Dr Kaunda as an extraordinary Giant who has left an indelible footprint in Africa and the world. “Namibia is grateful for Dr Kaunda and Zambia’s contribution to Namibia’s independence,” President Ngengob said Mr Geingob said he learnt a lot from Dr Kaunda and even borrowed the maxim One Zambia One Nation and turned it into One Namibia One Nation.
Mozambique´s President Filipe Nyusi pay his last respect to the late President Kaunda during the state funeral service at the show grounds.
Mozambican leader Felipe Nyusi said men of Dr Kaunda’s stature never die but their spirit lives on. “ SADC has lost its founder and a leader who stood against racial discrimination and inequality,” he said. The Mozambican leader said Dr Kaunda made immense contributions to the liberation of Southern Africa especially Mozambique whose independence deal was brokered in Lusaka.
Botswana´s President of Mr. Eric Masisi pay last respect to the late President Kaunda during the state funeral service at the show grounds.
Mr Nyusi said despite economic sanctions from South Africa, Zambia housed many liberation movements such as African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa, Frelimo of Mozambique, Swapo from Namibia, and UNITA and MPLA of Angola.
Ghana’s President Akufu Addo said he had travelled to Lusaka, Zambia, to pay respects to Africa’s last independence liberator and philosopher King. Mr Addo said his presence at Dr Kaunda’s State funeral is evidence of the impact and influence that Zambia’s First President had. “ Dr Kaunda sacrificed Zambia to ensure that Southern Africa and the African Continent at large became free because Zambia’s independence was not complete without her neighbours being free,” he recalled. Mr Addo said Dr Kaunda put Zambia on the global stage as he ensured that the country came to the aid of its neighbours’ quest for freedom through the frontline heads of State.
Zimbabwe president of Emmerson Mnagangwa pay his last respect to the late President Kaunda during the state funeral service at the show grounds. President Emerson Mnangagwa said he owed his education and Presidency to Dr Kaunda as he set the path for his education and induction into politics. Mr Mnangagwa said Dr Kaunda was a selfless leader and an epitome of wisdom who dedicated his life and sacrificed his country to ensure his neighbours were liberated. “ Dr Kaunda was the last man standing from the generation of African leaders who fought to liberate Africa from the shackles of colonialism,” President Mnangagwa stated. Mr Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe’s history can never be complete without the mention of Dr Kaunda who was a torch bearer of freedom. The Zimbabwean leader wished Zambians successful elections on August 12, 2021.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said his country can never repay its debt to Zambia and Dr Kaunda for the sacrifice made towards the ending of apartheid and attainment of Independence. Mr Ramaphosa described Dr Kaunda as the father of liberation in the SADC as he remained a loyal friend and supporter of South Africa’s liberation cause. “We will never be able to pay the debt we owe you, thank you for the great work done, ” said Mr. Ramaphosa. He said like the eagle on the Zambian flag, Dr Kaunda has soared into the sunset leaving lessons of compassion , peace, dignity, humility and empathy.
Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi paid tribute to Dr Kaunda for initiating Botswana into the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and forging friendship with Tanzania. “ Dr Kaunda championed the liberation of Southern Africa and urged contemporary leaders to emulate his attributes,” he said.
Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera prayed that the death of Dr Kaunda should not be in vain but raise up a new generation of African leaders who will embrace his ideals of pan Africanism and stamp out corruption on the Continent. “ A new generation of African leaders in the likeness of Dr Kaunda are needed to set Africa on the path of economic growth, prosperity and peace,” he noted.
Lesotho’s Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro said Dr Kaunda was a remarkable leader who selflessly worked to ensure Southern Africa was liberated.
Tanzanian former President Jakaya Kikwete speaking on behalf of President Samia Hassan, said Dr Kaunda forged friendship ties with Julius Nyerere to work for the liberation and betterment of Africa . President Hassan assured that her country will work towards enhancing the existing bilateral ties between Tanzania and Zambia as a way of honouring Dr Kaunda’s legacy.
Angolan Vice President Bernito de Sousa said Dr Kaunda’s footprints are all over Southern Africa due to his efforts in liberating the region. “ Angola was grateful for Zambia to host its liberation movements culminating in his country’s independence,” he said.
African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson Moussa Faki said the Continental body would not be in existence without the input and efforts of founding leaders like Dr Kaunda. Mr Faki said it was not easy to eulogise Dr Kaunda who is the last of the founding fathers of the Organisation of African Unity, which today is the African Union(AU). “ Dr Kaunda has left Africa lessons of unity and Pan Africanism which must be seen , applied and attained through Agenda 2063 and the African Continental Free Trade Area,” Mr Faki stressed.
British Minister for African Affairs, James Duddridge said the United Kingdom(UK) mourns with Zambia the loss of a respected statesman and freedom fighter. Mr Duddridge said Dr Kaunda worked to secure Zambia’s future and the liberation of Africa.
Commonwealth Secretary General, Patricia Scotland described Dr Kaunda as an African titan, global leader, humanist and principled Christian. Ms Scotland said the world needs to heed and apply Dr Kaunda’s ideas of peace. She said Dr Kaunda’s influence and input shaped the Commonwealth into the modern organisation it has become. “Dr Kaunda hosted the Commonwealth’s first meeting on African soil in 1979 and the Lusaka declaration and Singapore declaration speak volumes of his fight against racism and inequality and desire to build a better and peaceful world,” she recalled.
DRC´s President Felix Tshisekedi, who is also African Union (AU) Chairperson, described Dr Kaunda as a Pan- Africanist who believed and worked for the betterment of the African Continent and its people. Speaking through his representative, Presidential Affairs Minister Nana Kuimba, Mr Tshisekedi praised Dr Kaunda for being a founding father of the OAU, which transformed into the AU to promote unity in the continent. Dr Kaunda played a pivotal role in the liberation of Southern Africa and pledged to uphold his legacy,” he said.
Serbia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Nikola Selakovic said Dr Kaunda was a role model for freedom loving nations. Mr Selakovic said his country enjoyed good cooperation with the Kaunda regime in promoting a peaceful world. He described Dr Kaunda as a Giant and that his works will never die but live on in the spirits of Zambians.
During his homily, United Church of Zambia (UCZ) Bishop Lodwell Siame said Dr Kaunda has given mankind several lessons among them selfless service and love for humanity. President Lungu led the foreign Heads of State and other dignitaries in viewing the body of Dr Kaunda. Dr Kaunda died on June 17, at the age of 97 and will be buried on July 7,2021 at the Presidential burial site at Lusaka’s Embassy park.