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Kenneth Kaunda, the first President of Zambia, dies at the age of 97

According to the government of Zambia, the founding President of Zambia Kenneth Kaunda has passed away at the age of 97. Cabinet Secretary Simon Mitty said on Thursday that Kaunda died at 2.30 pm. Local time at Main Soko Hospital, a military hospital in the country’s capital Lusaka, where he was admitted since Monday.

Mitty said on the state-broadcaster, Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation, that the government would provide a detailed program on funeral arrangements in line with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation said that Kaunda’s contribution to the fight against colonialism and apartheid will not be forgotten.

Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu has announced 21 days of mourning for former President Lungu, saying he was deeply saddened about Kaunda’s passing this afternoon.

Lungu wrote on his Facebook page on Thursday, "On behalf of the entire nation and on my own behalf, I pray that the entire Kaunda family finds consolation as we mourn our first president and true African icon."

Kaunda – popularly known as KK – was a strong supporter of efforts to end apartheid in South Africa. He was also a major supporter of the liberation movements in Mozambique and what is now Zimbabwe.

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