World leaders have continued to pay tributes to Kenneth Kaunda, the former president of Zambia who died Thursday.
Mr Kaunda, the founding president of the Southern African nation, died on Thursday at the age of 97.
Known by his initials of KK, He led his country from 1964 until 1991 and is known as one of the giants in the continent’s fight against colonialism.
Tributes have poured in for the late president, with condolences coming from world leaders including Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, former Nigerian Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan and former Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar.
The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, said it is with “indescribable sense of loss” that he
learnt of the passing of Mr Kaunda.
“Africa has lost one of its finest sons,” Mr Mahamat said. “He embodied the true sense of Pan-Africanism, placing his own country Zambia at grave risk in order to provide safe harbour for the liberation movements of Southern Africa as well as its peoples.”
“The African Union stands in solidarity with the Kaunda family, the people and the Government of the Republic of Zambia as we mourn and honour the life of a freedom fighter, statesman, visionary and liberation struggle icon,” he said.
President Buhari said he received the passing of Mr Kaunda with great shock, sending condolences to the family, the government and people of Zambia.
He was one of the greatest Africans and world leaders of all time who loved his country and people profoundly, Mr Buhari said. “We can’t forget in a hurry how Kaunda gave shelter to anti-apartheid freedom fighters from South Africa and from former Rhodesia.”
He described Mr Kaunda as one of the loudest voices for the liberation of Africa from colonialism and imperialism, saying he did so with passion and sincerity.
“It is impossible to reflect on Kaunda’s legacy without acknowledging his selflessness and passion for service,” Mr Buhari said in a statement by his spokesperson, Garba Shehu.
Nigeria’s former president, Goodluck Jonathan, described Mr Kaunda as a foremost Pan-Africanist who was of “great significance” to the “continent’s struggle for liberation.”
“I am deeply saddened,” Mr Jonathan’s office said in a statement. “Not only was he of very great significance to Africa’s struggle for liberation he was also quite significant to me. I met him as a much younger politician and I am glad to have maintained a close relationship with the great sage.”
His life was a pattern of good works, Mr Jonathan said. “His post Presidential work in providing relief for HIV/AIDS patients, as well as promoting practices and measures to curb the spread of the virus are remembered.”
Mr Obasanjo expressed his “heartfelt condolences” in a moment of “great loss” to Zambians and indeed all Africans.
Mr Kaunda’s death brings to an end the pioneers and forefathers who led the struggles for decolonisation of the African continent, Mr Obasanjo’s spokesperson said in a statement.
He urged all Africans and friends of Africa to take solace in the knowledge that President Kaunda has gone home to a “well-deserved rest and to proudly take his place beside his brothers.”
“Former President Kenneth Kaunda was the last of his generation that epitomised the liberation struggle on the African continent,” Mr Abubakar wrote on Twitter.
“His passing away is the end of an era. We remain eternally grateful for his services to Zambia and the continent. May his soul rest in peace.,” the former vice president said.
The United States joined the international community in mourning the passing of Mr Kaunda, honouring his memory and his service to the people of Zambia and across Africa.
“He was steadfast in uniting Zambia’s 73 tribes through his commitment to “One Zambia, One Nation,” the U.S. said. “He advocated against discrimination of people living with HIV/AIDS and was a tireless advocate for the poor and marginalized.”
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