1 minute read
18 Jun 2021
3:01 am

Key dates in the life of Zambia’s first president Kenneth Kaunda


Kaunda died on Thursday afternoon after a bout of pneumonia, according to the Zambian government.

Zambian first president Kenneth Kaunda in Lusaka on 2 November 2008. Picture: AFP/Alexander Joe

Lusaka – Kenneth Kaunda, Zambia’s first post-colonial president, in key dates.

April 28, 1924: Kaunda is born at Lubwa mission in the north of the British colony of Northern Rhodesia, the youngest of eight children of a Presbyterian minister.

1951: Ends his teaching career to work for the anti-colonial Northern Rhodesian African National Congress.

1953: Kaunda is elected the party’s secretary general and launches non-violent campaigns for black majority rule that see him jailed for two months in 1955.

1958: Founds the breakaway Zambian African National Congress which is banned, returning Kaunda to prison. It becomes the United National Independence Party (UNIP) and Kaunda takes over when he leaves jail in 1960.

1964: Britain grants independence and the UNIP wins elections. As president, Kaunda installs a state-dominated economy and single-party rule.

1991: Kaunda calls Zambia’s first multi-party elections, losing to Frederick Chiluba from the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD).

1997: Kaunda is jailed in connection with an alleged coup plot against Chiluba. The charges are dropped the following year and he is released.

1999: Ruling on a MMD petition, a judge strips him of Zambian citizenship because his parents are from Malawi. The case is withdrawn the following year and he regains Zambian citizenship.

2000: Aged 75, he hands over the UNIP leadership.

2002: Starts a two-year fellowship as African president-in-residence at Boston University in the United States.

2014: Hospitalised and treated reportedly for fatigue.

2015: Admitted in hospital for an undisclosed illness.

June 17 2021: Kaunda dies at the age of 97 after admission to a military hospital.