Uhuru bids farewell to Zambia’s founding president Kenneth Kaunda

President Uhuru Kenyatta arrives at the Lusaka Show Grounds for the State Funeral of the First President of the Republic of ZambiaFlag of Zambia, Dr Kenneth Kaunda. [PSCU]

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday joined eight other African Heads of State and a host of other foreign dignitaries in bidding farewell to Zambia’s founding President Kenneth David Kaunda who passed away mid last month.

President Kenyatta, who was accompanied by Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo and State House Chief of Staff Nzioka Waita, paid glowing tribute to the late President Kaunda describing him as one of the last great sons of Africa who committed his entire life to the service of the people of the whole continent.

“Today, we mourn a father and a man who was willing to sacrifice in order to ensure that justice prevailed and stood up for the people of Africa.

“President Kaunda was not satisfied with the independence of Zambia. And he committed himself to ensuring that not only was Zambia free and able to determine her own destiny but he also committed to lead the struggle to ensure many other countries of this African continent were able to get justice to determine their own future,” President Kenyatta said.

The President spoke during the State Funeral of former President Kaunda at Lusaka’s main showground in Zambia.

President Kaunda died on June 17 aged 97. [PSCU]

Former President Kaunda, the first President of Zambia, died on June 17 aged 97 and will be laid to rest on July 7 at the Embassy Park Presidential Burial site in Lusaka where three other past Presidents – Dr Levy Patrick Mwanawasa (third President), Dr Fredrick Chiluba (Second President) and Mr Michael Sata (Fourth President) – were buried.

President Kenyatta said Kenya will remember President Kaunda, fondly called KK, as a great friend and partner of founding President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.

“I remember fondly the many moments they shared together, fought and struggled together for this continent.

“I personally today can say I truly have lost not only a mentor but a person who greatly inspired me as well,” said President Kenyatta, who is also the current Chairperson of the East African Community.

In his address, host President Edgar Chagwa Lungu said the attendance of the African leaders and other dignitaries was an affirmation of Dr. Kaunda’s role in the liberation struggle, global peace and security agenda as well as sustainable development and regional integration.

Other African Heads of State who spoke at the state funeral were Presidents Hage Geingob (Namibia), Filipe Nyusi (Mozambique), Nana Akufo-Addo (Ghana), Emmerson Mnangagwa (Zimbabwe), Cyril Ramaphosa (South Africa), Mokgweetsi Masisi (Botswana),  Lazarus Chakwera (Malawi) and Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro of the Kingdom of Lesotho.

Former Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland, UK Minister for Africa James Duddridge and Serbia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Nikola Selakovi? also spoke at the solemn event.

President Kenyatta said Kenya will remember President Kaunda as a great friend and partner of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. [PSCU]

The leaders eulogized the late former President Kaunda as an iconic leader, a Pan-African titan and the continent’s towering liberation hero whose legacy will live on for many generations to come.

“Today is truly the end of an era in the African continent. President Kaunda was one of the greatest freedom fighters, philosopher-king and independence leader,” said Ghana’s President Akufo-Addo.

Attendance to the State funeral was by invitation only due to the Covid-19 pandemic with majority of Zambian nationals following proceedings live on Zambia’s national broadcaster ZNBC and other local media.