Zambia’s former president, Kenneth Kaunda who was the first to serve as the country’s president after leading it to independence has died.
He died on Thursday at the age of 97 after he was admitted to a military hospital in Lusaka.
The former president was being treated for Pneumonia while on admission, according to the government.
Kenneth Kaunda ruled for 27 years as president and was nicknamed the “African Gandhi” for his non-violent activism.
The ex-president led then Northern Rhodesia to bloodless independence in October 1964 from the British.
He stepped down from power after he lost multi-party elections in 1991.
Following his death, there were rumors he died from Covid-19 but the government denied that saying he was being treated for pneumonia.
Official announcement that Mzee Kenneth Kaunda is dead. pic.twitter.com/3rUJm567Ir
— Alan Kasujja (@kasujja) June 17, 2021
Kaunda’s son, Kambarage, wrote on his late father’s Facebook page that “I am sad to inform we have lost Mzee,” and said “Let’s pray for him.”
Tributes have been pouring in from world leaders to the death of Kaunda.
The last of Africa’s Founding Fathers
H.E Kenneth Kaunda will be remembered for many things by many generations. A charismatic, pragmatic and democratic leader.KK’s grace in conceding defeat in 1991 during Zambia’s 1st multiparty elections stands out. pic.twitter.com/PkuSXObGdS
— Kalonzo Musyoka (@skmusyoka) June 17, 2021
I’m deeply saddened by the passing on of the First President of Zambia, H.E Kenneth Kaunda. Africa has lost a liberation fighter, patriot and true Pan-Africanist. My condolences to President @EdgarCLungu , the berieved family and all Zambians. May his soul rest in peace! Amen.
— Samia Suluhu (@SuluhuSamia) June 17, 2021
Very sad to hear of the passing of the last of the founding President’s of the African Union. I met him on different occasions but my best memory was at a state reception in Accra, GH when he joked & danced away. Rest in Peace President Kenneth Kaunda, definitely one of a kind.
— Hanna Tetteh (@HannaTetteh) June 17, 2021
My full statement following the passing of H.E. Kenneth Kaunda. May he rest in eternal peace. https://t.co/j2ypk3Kxvd
— Moussa Faki Mahamat (@AUC_MoussaFaki) June 17, 2021