World leaders have continued to express their sympathies to Zambia following the death of first president Kenneth Kaunda, who passed away on June 17 and was buried on July 7, at the Embassy Park, the presidential burial site, in Lusaka.
Tributes continue to be sent to President Edgar Lungu from Monarchs, Heads of States and governments, and other notable dignitaries across the world, the late eulogizing Dr. Kaunda.
Among the world leaders that sent messages of condolences include US President Joe Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin , President Ram Nath Kovind of India and United Nations Secretary General António Guterres.
President Lungu’s Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations Isaac Chipampe disclosed this in a press statement issued to ZANIS in Lusaka today.
President Biden said the late Dr. Kaunda will be remembered as a leader, a statesman, and a tireless crusader for the Zambian people, as he played a central role in Zambia’s independence and the liberation of Southern Africa and a sustained advocacy for people living with HIV/AIDS.
“We celebrate the life and legacy of President Kaunda, and our thoughts are with his family and all who mourn him during this difficult time,” said President Biden.
Russian President Vladimir Putin praised the late Dr. Kaunda for his personal contribution to the establishment of friendly relations between Zambia and Russia.
“Dr. Kenneth Kaunda was the father of the Zambian statehood, did a lot for the socio-economic development of your country and the protection of its foreign policy interests. Please convey my words of sympathy and support to the family and friends of the deceased, as well as to the people of Zambia,” said President Putin.
And UN Secretary General António Guterres said the late Dr. Kaunda’s exceptional statesmanship set the foundations for the emergence of Zambia as a stable multi-party democracy and that his leadership in the establishment of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) is a significant part of his legacy, worth honouring.
President Ram Nath Kovind of India said Zambia has lost an iconic and great leader, statesman and a true humanitarian.
“During his tenure as President of the Republic of Zambia, Dr. Kaunda had very close relations with India. He played an important role in ensuring Zambia’s development and its respected position among the community nations,” said President Kovind.
The Indian President further said it was a privilege for him to meet Dr. Kaunda during his state visit to Zambia in April 2018.
Canadian Government’s Administrator Richard Wagner said the late Dr. Kaunda’s legacy and lifelong commitment to the independence and wellbeing of his fellow citizens is an inspiration.
Meanwhile, Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa described the late Dr. Kaunda as a torch bearer of non-violent activism, Pan-Africanism and independence in Africa.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vu?i? said Serbia remembers the late President Kaunda as an ally of the former Yugoslavia and Serbia and as one of the most prominent figures of the liberation movements of Africa, who bravely and uncompromisingly advocated and fought for the independence and self-determination of Africa.
Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou expressed optimism that Dr. Kaunda’s ideals for Africa’s freedom and dignity will guide the new generations of Zambians and Africans.
Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Belgium Alexander De Croo also extended a message of condolences to President Lungu on the death of Dr. Kaunda.
President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela said Venezuela honours Dr. Kaunda for his priceless legacy in the fight against colonialism and Africa’s emancipation and his leadership in the defence of Pan Africanism.
And Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) President Felix Tshisekedi said Dr. Kaunda was a great statesman and nationalist and a symbol of the liberation of Africa and father of independence.
“As I express my sad wishes for the deceased soul to rest in eternal peace, please accept, Mr. President and dear Brother, the expression of my deepest heartfelt condolences,” said President Tshisekedi.
And Namibia’s former president Sam Nujoma said Namibia will never forget the pivotal role Dr. Kaunda played in its march to freedom and independence through the unwavering solidarity and support from Zambia and other frontline states.
“Dr. Kenneth Kaunda was a true friend of the Namibian people during our protracted and bitter national liberation struggle and made his country, Zambia, a sanctuary and a second home for Namibians who had to endure the suffering and hardship of prolonged exile,” said Dr. Nujoma.
Burundi President Évariste Ndayishimiye said he learnt with profound sadness the passing of the father of independence and first president of the Republic of Zambia while Senegalese President Macky Sall saluted Dr. Kaunda as an illustrious son of Africa who contributed to Africa’s liberation and integration.
Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaska said Zambia has lost a true statesman who navigated the country through turbulent times with wisdom.
“The contributions of the late leader towards strengthening the relations between Sri Lanka and Zambia were immense and we will cherish the support and solidarity the former president demonstrated for many years,” said President Rajapaska.
South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit hailed the late Dr. Kaunda as having demonstrated commitment to African freedom by spearheading the fight against minority rule in Southern Africa.
“In South Sudan, we are indebted to President Kaunda for supporting the quest for freedom. As we mourn him, we equally celebrate his rich legacy and stand in solidarity with Your Excellency and the people of Zambia at the difficult moment in your country. I pray that God brings comfort and strength to President Kaunda’s family to help them deal with the heartache of his loss,” said President Kiir
King Letsie III of Lesotho said Dr. Kaunda’s historic achievements had a lasting and significant impact on the political direction and developments in the Southern African region.
He said Dr. Kaunda’s contributions compelled Lesotho to bestow on him in October, 2006, one of the country’s highest honours, Knight Commander of the Most Courteous Order of Lesotho.
President Julius Bio of Sierra Leone said Dr. Kaunda will be remembered not only for his strong support to the liberation movements across Africa but also for allowing liberation movements to have their headquarters in Zambia.
“He was an amiable leader who was recognized and saluted by Africa. As your nation mourns this great son, we are reassured that the vision of Dr. Kaunda, particularly his commitment to building a strong Zambia and a free and united Africa will be pursued with renewed vigour and commitment.”
And Chairman of the Secretariat of the World Igbo Congress, Professor Anthony Ejiofor, paid tribute to the late Dr. Kaunda’s wisdom and foresight which enabled him to forge strong international partnerships for Zambia.