Son to Zambia’s founding father and first president Kenneth Kaunda has explained why he chose not to attend his father’s funeral ceremony.
Kaweche Kaunda, has explained that he does not regret not attending the burial procession of his father, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda at Embassy Park in Lusaka on the 7th of July 2021.
Speaking during a courtesy call meeting by The Movement Magazine Chief Executive Officer, Namwezi Namwinga along with the Magazine Executive Editor, Chimweka Chileshe at his State Lodge residence, Mr. Kaunda said he couldnât attend the service at the Cathedral because he was also disappointed by the Church leadersâ approval to go ahead.
âI had spoken with the Church leaders advising them to not ahead and bless the burial site that the old man (Dr. Kaunda) didnât want to be buried at. They understood when we discussed, but to my surprise, everything went on contrary to what was discussed with some of them,â Kaweche said.
âI used to spend a lot of time with my father and he made it clear, even in writing to Government, that he didnât want to be buried at that parking lot that hasnât even been legally declared a Presidential burial site. Even after my brother (Col. Panji Kaunda) wrote a letter to Cabinet Office for KKâs wish to be honored, they eventually managed to convince my brother somehow that it was legal and I didnât want to fight with him in public. However, I do represent a good number of my family members who werenât happy with the decision to burry him there. Bishop Trevor Mwamba is the only clergy man there who reiterated my dadâs wish to be buried next to his late wife.â
Kaweche Kaunda added that even the moving of Dr. Kenneth Kaundaâs body across the ten provinces of the country was not the familyâs wish, but they compromised on it with the family agreement to not compromise on the burial plan next to the late Betty Kaunda, something that even Col. Panji Kaunda agreed to initially.
âThereâs a good number of people who also couldnât attend because they knew the burial at Embassy Park was not my fatherâs wish. Former Heads of State like Thabo Mbeki knew his burial wish and he didnât attend. Even President Chissano called to express concern over the same before attending as the only former Head of State.â
In reaction to opinions that President Kaunda was state property therefore the state had the right to choose his place of burial, Kaweche Kaunda disagreed stating that his father was only state property until his death when he then became family property.
âEven when you speak with lawyers, they will tell you that after his death he was no longer state property, but that of us â his family. Besides, had he been buried around here next to mom, we would have given up that land as public property. The idea was to honor his wish that he kept talking about, even to some of his staff. If you ask them theyâll tell you. Even when we drove passed that place (Embassy Park), he made it clear.
During the courtesy call meeting, Mr. Kaunda also commended The Movement Magazine for honoring his fatherâs legacy through the latest issue launched on the 31st of July 2021. He also reacted to the leading headline, âWho Was KK Supporting for The 2021 Elections?â saying his father was deliberately kept away from the news sometimes, but when he came across a story of national interest, he would always give a neutral opinion regardless of who the individual in question was.
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