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Museveni mourns former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda

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Museveni has mourned the death of former president of Zambia Mzee Kenneth Kaunda. Kaunda’s death was announced by Zambian President Edgar Lungu.

Zambia’s founding president and a champion of African nationalism who spearheaded the fights to end white minority rule across southern Africa, has died at the age of 97. Kaunda served as the first President of Zambia from 1964 to 1991.

“I have learnt with shock the death of our elder, Mzee Kenneth Kaunda. Although God has blessed him with many years of life, departing at 97 years, since his brain was still sharp, we could have had more years of his wisdom,” Museveni mourned.

Museveni said Lusaka had representation from most of the Liberation movements in Southern Africa.  He also welcomed Ugandan exiles, when we were fighting the dictatorship of Idi Amin. Many Ugandans got jobs and education in Zambia when they ran out of Uganda.

“Therefore, in his long life, Mzee Kaunda made his contribution to the freedom of Africa. I salute his contribution and I salute his memory. May His soul rest in eternal peace,” he said.

He was at the forefront of the struggle for independence from British rule. Dissatisfied with Harry Nkumbula’s leadership of the Northern Rhodesian African National Congress, he broke away and founded the Zambian African National Congress, later becoming the head of the United National Independence Party (UNIP).

He was the first President of the independent Zambia. In 1973 following tribal and inter-party violence, all political parties except UNIP were banned through an amendment of the constitution after the signing of the Choma Declaration.

At the same time, Kaunda oversaw the acquisition of majority stakes in key foreign-owned companies. The oil crisis of 1973 and a slump in export revenues put Zambia in a state of economic crisis.

International pressure forced Kaunda to change the rules that had kept him in power. Multi-party elections took place in 1991, in which Frederick Chiluba, the leader of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy, ousted Kaunda.

Kaunda was briefly stripped of Zambian citizenship in 1999, but the decision was overturned the following year.

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