Opposition political parties in Zimbabwe have joined the rest of the African continent and the entire international community in mourning the departure of neighbouring Zambia’s founding President Kenneth Kaunda who died Thursday at the age of 97 at Lusaka hospital where he was being treated for pneumonia.
MDC Alliance extended its “deepest condolences” to the Kaunda family and people of Zambia describing the late Kaunda and as a pan-African leader par-excellence.
“President Kaunda lived an extraordinary and exemplary life that embodied the pan-African values of selflessness, service, sacrifice and solidarity,” said the party’s secretary for international relations, Gladys Hlatywayo.
“The liberation history of Southern Africa, including Zimbabwe can never be written without acknowledging the important role played by President Kaunda.”
Hlatywayo further said: “President Kaunda was also one of the first African leaders to hand over power peacefully following an electoral defeat in 1991. He dedicated his post presidency era to worthy causes including the fight against HIV/AIDS. Africa has lost a great statesman and one of its iconic giants!”
ZAPU said it learnt with sadness the passing on of Zambia’s founding president. “Affectionately known to us as Dr KK, President Kaunda is the doyen of Africa’s liberation and search for freedom,” said the party’s spokesperson, Iphithule Maphosa.
“At the time Zambia’s freedom was at its infancy, President Kaunda sacrificed his people and their development by opening up Zambia to Southern African countries that were still fighting for independence. Liberation movements from across the region found home and refuge in Zambia from where they carried out their struggle activities and launched operations in their respective countries. Besides hosting these countries, Zambia, under President Kaunda provided diplomatic and political support to liberation movements.”
Maphosa said Zimbabwe is one such example of recipients of Dr KK’s generosity, love and care, all in utmost humility.
“ZAPU got all the necessary support from Zambia to wage a successful struggle for independence in Zimbabwe, without which the 1980 feat would not have been possible,” said Maphosa.
“President Kaunda is an unparalleled liberator of Africa and his service to its people is unmatched. Remaining humble even out of power, it is a pity he has not been accorded the attention deserving of the father of African freedom and liberation. He even went through persecution from imperialist stooge elements in his country but still remained humble and committed to love his people, a rare leadership quality he possessed till the end.”
He added that Kaunda’s family, Zambian family, Zimbabwean family, southern Africa, the African continent and all progressive world citizens should be consoled as ZAPU mourns together with them the passing on of the most illustrious son of the soil.
“News regarding the passing on of Kaunda have been a blow,” said Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) president, Mqondisi Moyo.
“Not only because he was a renowned African Statesman, but also because of his social and political proximity with our own, the late Dr Joshua Nkomo and ZAPU in general. To us, Nkomo and ZAPU remain significant because they were largely Mthwakazian. It follows that Kaunda’s close ties with ZAPU and Joshua were close ties with us too, hence the shock at his death.”
Moyo said Kaunda played an important role in liberating not only Zambia, but the whole of the Southern African region and beyond.
He said the late liberation icon would be remembered for his unwavering fight for the self- determination of nations.
“He demonstrated this by ruthlessly and persistently fighting the federation concept. We are also fighting against our own federation with Zimbabwe. In as much as Kaunda won the battle, so shall we. So, as we fight, we remember him and he remains an inspiration to us,” said Moyo.
“We will also remember him for his Humanism philosophy. He valued humans because they were humans, and not because they were his tribe like what we see being practised by those who claim to be liberators and leaders, yet they have no regard for humanity.”
Kaunda’s departure, Moyo said, marks the end of the 1960s generation of African nationalists.
“All his colleagues including Joshua are gone; let him rest in peace,” he said.
“To us as MRP, he is leaving a challenge to fight for our self-determination to the end. We will be consoled and inspired by his courage and vision.”