Zambia’s founding father Kenneth Kaunda has passed away.
His death was confirmed by President Edgar Chagwa Lungu on Thursday, 17th June, through a Facebook post.
“Dear KK, I learnt of your passing this afternoon with great sadness. You have gone at a time we least expected but we are comforted that you are now with our Father, God Almighty in heaven,” wrote Lungu.
“On behalf of the entire nation and on my own behalf I pray that the entire Kaunda family is comforted as we mourn our First President and true African icon.”
According to reports, Kaunda, 97, had been admitted to the Maina Soko Medical Centre, a military hospital in Lusaka, on Monday, where authorities disclosed he was being treated for pneumonia.
Kaunda ruled Zambia for 27 years, taking the helm after the country gained independence from Britain in October 1964.
He ceded power in the first multi-party elections in 1991, losing to trade unionist Fredrick Chiluba.
However, he officially retired from politics after he was accused of involvement in a failed 1997 coup attempt.
After retiring from politics, he was involved in various charitable organisations. His most notable contribution was his zeal in the fight against the spread of HIV/Aids.
He also served as an African President-in-Residence at the African Presidential Archives and Research Centre at Boston University from 2002 to 2004.
Kaunda was the only surviving founder of the Organisation of African Unity, the present day African Union (AU).