Sunday, May 27, 2007


Kenneth David Kaunda a.k.a. KK born April 28, 1924, was the first President of Independent Zambia from 1964-1991

Kaunda was educated at Lubwa Mission School and Munali Secondary School. He became a school teacher at Lubwa in 1943, rising to the post of headmaster from 1944-47. Kenneth Kaunda came to power in 1964, on the crest of a wave of liberation movements which saw many African countries gain independence from European colonial powers. During the 1968 elections Kenneth Kaunda banned all political opposition and in 1972 Zambia became a one party state.

Kaunda with his trademark white handkerchief, a symbol of his power and humility. He rates US Presidents John F Kennedy and Jimmy Carter as among the most impressive men.

Economic troubles and increasing international pressure to bring more democracy to Africa forced Kaunda to change the rules that kept him in power. People who had been afraid to criticize him were now emboldened to challenge his competence. His close friend Julius Nyerere had stepped down from the republican presidency in Tanzania in 1985 and was quietly encouraging Kaunda to follow suit. Pressure for a return to multiparty politics increased, and Kaunda voluntarily yielded and called for multiparty elections in 1991, in which the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) won. Kaunda left office with the inauguration of MMD leader Fredrick Chiluba as president on November 2, 1991.

In 1991 Dr. Kaunda, having lost the Presidential election, founded the Kenneth Kaunda Peace Foundation, dedicated to the establishment of peace and conflict resolution on the continent.

Out of power, he was arrested and detained by the army that had been loyal to him for 27 years, over an alleged involvement in a coup plot. His political rallies were brutally broken up. While he escaped an assassination attempt, one of his most ambitious sons, Major Wezi Kaunda, was murdered, in what he described as a political assassination. He wept in public.

Kaunda had initially retired after his election defeat to President Chiluba in 1991, but changed his mind in time for the 1996 General Election. His hopes of bouncing back to power were, however, dashed when President Chiluba responded with a constitutional amendment that barred him from vying for the presidency, ostensibly on the grounds that his parents were born in Malawi.

These days he devotes much of his time to the battle against poverty and the spread of Aids, one of the biggest threats facing the region. Dr Kaunda lost one of his sons to Aids in 1986, and was, perhaps, the first African leader to go public about the scourge. He called a press conference at State House, Lusaka, and announced that his son, Masuzyo, had died of Aids.

He is the author of: Black Government, 1961; Zambia Shall Be Free, 1962; A Humanist in Africa (with Colin Morris), 1966; Humanism in Zambia and its Implementation, 1967; Human in Zambia Part II; Letter to My Children, 1977; Kaunda on Violence, 1980.

Married to Betty Banda in 1946, Dr. Kaunda is the father of ten children, seven of whom are living.

KK strumming on his guitar and singing his heart this is what I call retirement


"Ambition never comes to an end."

"The power which establishes a state is violence; the power which maintains it is violence; the power which eventually overthrows it is violence.

"The inability of those in power to still the voices of their own consciences is the great force leading to change."


Benin "Mwangi" said...


You are a terrific writer. Every sentence of each pos that I have read here has kept my attention. This one about Kanda is really interesting too. I have heard lots of stories about him before, mainly about his dramatic speeches but none that covered as many aspects of his life as this one.


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