BREAKING: Kenneth Kaunda, the first president of Zambia, dies aged 97

Kenneth Kaunda, the founding President of Zambia, died at the age of 97 on Thursday, 17 June, just days after he was admitted to Maina Soko Military hospital.


The cause of death is yet to be revealed. Kaunda was admitted for treatment for pneumonia at the hospital in Zambia’s capital, Lusaka, on Monday. He was said to be recovering and an administrative assistant, Rodrick Ngolo, insisted that the former political leader had not contracted COVID-19, at the time.

“He is being treated for pneumonia but he doesn’t have COVID-19. The problem of pneumonia comes up regularly and each time you hear he is in hospital it’s because of pneumonia,” said Ngolo.

Kaunda – who is affectionately known by his initials KK – ruled Zambia for 27 years from 1964, when the country was freed from British colonial. KK was unseated when the southern African nation had its first multi-party elections in 1991. Since then, Zambia has been relatively stable.

Kaunda was the leader of the United National Independence Party (UNIP), which led the country’s liberation movement, and the last remaining founding member of the Organisation of African Unity, a predecessor of African Union (AU).

This is a developing story.

Additional reporting by AFP.


Presh JM Reporter

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