Many African countries have declared national mourning in honor of the late Zambian founding president Kenneth Kaunda who passed away on Thursday at the age of 97.
Namibia President Hage Geingob on Friday declared seven days of national mourning in honor of Kaunda. In a statement, Geingob said that all flags will be flown at half between June 19 and 25 in honor of the revered statesman who is credited for playing a pivotal role in liberating most southern African countries.
According to Geingob, Namibians will join the region and Zambians in honoring Kaunda who he described as a selfless and gallant son of the soil for his selfless contribution to Namibia’s independence.
Geingob said Kaunda will be remembered as a selfless leader who put the aspirations of others ahead of his and his country in his quest to liberate the continent.
The Council of Ministers of Mozambique on Friday also decreed a six-day national mourning observance to honor Kenneth Kaunda.
Speaking to the press after the session of the council in Maputo, the Deputy Minister of State Administration and Public Service and the session’s spokesman Inocencio Impissa said the high prestige that Kaunda has earned at the continental and world level was obtained in the struggle for racial equality and the progress of Africa, in the promotion of dialogue and peace between the peoples, and will leave an important legacy for future generations.
In his message of condolences issued earlier on Friday, Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi lamented the death of Kaunda, saying that he will be remembered as a great leader for his crucial role in Zambia’s independence movement and contribution to the common efforts in defense of the independence, peace, and security in Africa.
In Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni has hailed the fallen ex-Zambian leader for his contribution to the liberation of several southern African countries.
“He fought for Zambia’s independence and he made a big contribution to the freedom struggle of the liberation of the subcontinent of Southern Africa,” Museveni said in a Twitter message.
Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan on Friday also announced seven-day national mourning following the death of Kaunda. Hassan said that the national flag will fly at half-mast during the seven-day mourning period, according to a statement issued by the Directorate of Presidential Communications.
The statement said President Hassan has sent a condolence message to Zambian President Edgar Lungu, the family of the former Zambian leader, and the people of Zambia for losing their heroic leader.
The governments of Botswana and South Africa also declared seven and 10 days of national mourning respectively in honor of Kaunda.
Botswana President Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi, in his message of condolences, said it was during Kaunda’s tenure that relations between the two countries blossomed. He described Kaunda as an iconic statesman of the highest credentials and lauded his selfless dedication to the interest of his own people as well as the wellbeing of neighbors.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said his country will forever cherish the role Kaunda played not only in the liberation of Africa but South Africa in particular.
“Under his leadership, Zambia provided refuge, care and support to liberation fighters who had been forced to flee the countries of their birth,” he said in a release.
Zambian President Edgar Lungu on Friday visited the funeral home of Kaunda in Lusaka, the country’s capital, and said Kaunda’s death should enable the country to be united and embrace the “One Zambia, One Nation” mantra he espoused.
He said the life led by Kaunda should shape the country’s destiny, especially in the current trying times the country was facing.
“Dr. Kaunda epitomizes the very existence of our country and of us as a nation. No one can speak about Zambia without recognizing the foundational role that he played in our statehood,” he said.
A 21-day mourning period has been declared by the Zambian government. Kaunda led Zambia from 1964 to 1991.