By Dr Takavafira M. Zhou
It is with a heavy heart that we have learnt of the death of Zambian founding President, Kenneth Kaunda. Kaunda was President in the period 1964-1991. Not only did Zambians contribute greatly to the development of colonial Zimbabwe during the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, 1953-1963, but the liberation struggle in Zimbabwe would be incomplete without mentioning the role of Kenneth Kaunda, other Frontline states and the sacrifice that Zambians made.
Zambia was the first country to host both ZAPU and ZANU and assist in the prosecution of the war from the 1960s. JZ Moyo, Nikhita Mangena, Dumiso Dabengwa, Akim Ndlovu, Lookout Masuku, Herbert Chitepo, Josiah Mangama Tongogara, Henry Kamadziripi, Rugare Gumbo, Mukudzei Mudzi, Kumbirai Kangai, Simbi Mubako, etc, perfected war strategies with the full support of Kenneth Kaunda and majority of Zambians. Kaunda was clear that the independence of Zambia was incomplete without the liberation of other Southern African states.
*One Zambia, one Nation*, Kaunda would say. *UNIP is like fire, if you touch it you will burn*, he remarked. Other than leading the liberation of Zambia and supporting liberation struggles in Southern Africa, Kaunda must be credited for accepting multi-partism in Zambia, let alone defeat in elections in 1991, unlike other African leaders who suffer from the Big Man syndrome. Not surprisingly, he lived a happy life as former President for so many years only to die at 97.
We pass our heartfelt condolences to the Kaunda family in particular and Zambians in general. Kaunda was a great man, a father figure to many, a leader whose leadership qualities reverberated across Africa, a Pan Africanist and humanist. Go well hero of heroes, for you fought a good battle and liberated many other countries. We will always be greatful to such a great leader, an advocate of peace, unity, service and self-sacrifice. If only African leaders would learn from you, elections in Africa would be free, fair and credible, and foster sustainable unity in diversity.