Editor's Comment

Fare thee well KK

KAUNDA

THE avalanche of messages of condolences from across Zambia, the African continent and overseas says it all: Kenneth David Kaunda was a rare statesman deserving of the praise being showered on him. Even at the ripe age of 97, many are shocked by his death yesterday but in almost equal measure are comforted that he ran his race very well. That as it may be, his passing is a truly great loss not only to Zambia but to the continent as a whole, especially southern Africa. This is why Botswana, for instance, has accorded Dr Kaunda a seven-day period of mourning. Zambia’s founding father is personally credited, and rightly so, for expediting the political liberation of countries in the region. These include Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Angola, Namibia and, further south, South Africa. Dr Kaunda was many great things to many Africans. He was a great icon who distinguished himself as a great statesman not only in Zambia but beyond the borders. His life was an epitome of true sacrifice and patriotism. His contribution to this country and the continent at large is immense and unmatched.  As a founding father and freedom fighter, the story of Zambia’s liberation struggle and subsequent independence is dominated by chapters on KK, as he was fondly known. Zambia today is an independent state in which citizens can freely enjoy their rights because Dr Kaunda and other founding fathers paid a heavy price of hard work, patriotism and sacrifice. These are men and women who demonstrated selfless leadership and laid their lives for mother Zambia. They stood ready to lose their lives, if that’s what it took to liberate the Zambian people from the shackles of colonialism. Apart from liberating this country from the oppressive hands of colonial masters, Dr Kaunda was instrumental in creating a solid foundation of peace on which this country has been anchored the past five decades. In fostering peace among the 73 tribes of Zambia, Dr Kaunda was strategic in coining the ‘One Zambia, One Nation’ slogan, which has continued to illuminate the spirit of unity to date. The ‘One Zambia, One Nation’ slogan was actualised by strategies such as deploying public workers to regions where they did not originate from.
This resulted in some intermarriages, thereby blurring tribal divides. Today, there are so many of such marriages across the tribal divide that it is absurd for anyone to talk about tribalism. Similarly, today, there are so many Zambians who speak more than one language; the basis being ‘One Zambia, One Nation’. Thanks to KK. Although there have been attempts by some politicians to ride on their tribal card, KK’s advice rings true today as it did when he counselled decades ago that “we are all made in God’s image”. Another unforgettable lesson Dr Kaunda taught repeatedly was one on ‘love your neighbour as you love yourself’. He never tired at giving this advice. It would be wise to honour him by heeding this counsel. Today Zambia is upheld as a beacon of peace on the continent and beyond because of his direct contributions, which included hosting liberation movements at the high risk of suffering military attacks at the hands of the then rebel Southern Rhodesia government and apartheid South Africa. After taking over from colonial masters as the first republican President, Dr Kaunda set out to ensure Zambians enjoyed the fruits of freedom by being placed in positions of leadership in parastatal companies. Dr Kaunda also ensured to set a solid foundation in terms of infrastructure development across all sectors. And on his shoulders his predecessors stood tall. Death has robbed Zambia and the continent of a reservoir of knowledge, wisdom and national memory.
We are, however, comforted that though Dr Kaunda is no more, his legacy will certainly live on. Fare thee well, KK.




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