Lusaka, Jun 17 (EFE).- Zambia’s first president, Kenneth Kaunda, died Thursday at a military hospital in Lusaka, son Kambarage Kaunda said. He was 97.
Kaunda was admitted to the hospital earlier this week suffering from pneumonia.
“I am sad to inform we have lost Mzee (the old man). Let’s pray for him,” Kambarage told reporters.
The country’s main opposition leader, Hakainde Hichilema, paid tribute to Kaunda in a Facebook post.
“We have learned with deep sorrow, of the death of Zambia’s first President and our founding father, Dr Kenneth David Buchizya Kaunda. He passed away peacefully in Lusaka today, after a short illness,” Hichilema wrote.
Kaunda became prime minister of what was then still the British colony of Northern Rhodesia after his UNIP party swept the 1963 parliamentary elections and assumed the office of president the following year when Zambia gained independence from the United Kingdom.
Known by Zambians as KK, Kaunda ruled the copper-rich nation until 1991, when he lost the presidential election to Frederick Chiluba. EFE