President Lazarus Chakwera has said he is saddened by the death of Dr. Kenneth Kaunda who was the first president and founding father of Zambia.

Kaunda, 97, died yesterday after battling pneumonia.

Conveying his condolences to the Kaunda and Zambia family, the Malawi leader said Africa has lost a giant and that “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and the Zambian people.”

“Dr Kaunda’s life is inextricably intertwined with the history of Malawi’s independence, from the time he, together with Dr  Banda, fought for the freedom of Rhodesia and Nyasaland in the colonial days.

“Through his passing, we have lost a part of our history, a renegade, a Pan Africanist, and a friend of our country who never tired in wishing us well through his counsel and goodwill. I therefore join all Heads of State and citizens of Africa and beyond in mourning the loss of this great Statesman, who championed the spirit of togetherness, and represented the last of his generation of pioneer freedom fighters in Sub-Saharan Africa, through his mantra ‘tiyende pamodzi, ndi mtima Umodzi’ ,” said Chakwera.

Former president Peter Mutharika also said that he is saddened by the news of the passing of Kaunda as he described him as a hero who fought hard for the liberation of his people.

Mutharika then added that all African leaders must emulate the life of the late Kaunda who put his people and country first.

In his remarks Saulos Chilima, the country’s vice president described Kaunda as the tour of strength, oasis of wisdom as the last man standing from the golden era of leaders that ushered African independence.

“We are now orphaned of knowledge and council, in your departure. As you go down to your last mile, your legacy will live on,” said Chilima.

On behalf of opposition parties in the country, leader of opposition Kondwani Nankhumwa also condoned Edgar Lungu, president of the Republic of Zambia and the entire Zambian family on the passing of Kaunda.

According to Nankhumwa, the late Kaunda was an outstanding leader and a distinguished African statesman who passionately spent his energies in ensuring the well-being of not only Zambians, but also that of Malawians and others in the region and on the continent.

“The people of Zambia have lost a wise, visionary and loving leader whose standing with the people of Zambia made him the darling of all, irrespective of political ideology, colour or creed. Dr. Kenneth Kaunda’s famous ‘One Zambia One Nation’ slogan instilled the importance of national unity in all Zambians, resulting in Zambia being one of the most peaceful nations on the globe,” Nankhumwa said.

He was one of the last surviving figures from the anti-colonial struggle of the 1950s.

Kaunda also known as KK, served as the first Zambian President from 1964 to 1991.

He was born in the family of eight to an ordained Church of Scotland missionary and teacher.

His parents migrated from Malawi.

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