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Dr. Kenneth David Buchizya Kaunda – President from 1964 to 1991

Kenneth David Buchizya Kaunda was born on 28 April 1924. He is popularly known as KK. Kaunda was the first President of the Republic of Zambia who served from 1964 to 1991.

Kaunda was born to an ordained Church of Scotland missionary and teacher. He was a teacher by profession taking after his father.

Dr. Kaunda spearheaded Zambia’s liberation struggle from British colonialists. He together with other heroes and heroines under the flagship of the United National Independence Party (UNIP), which he headed, immensely sacrificed for Zambia’s independence from British rule. The political party was a break away from Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula’s Northern Rhodesia African National Congress. UNIP is the successor to the Zambian African National Congress which KK also headed.

In 1972 all political parties except UNIP were banned. At the same time, Kaunda nationalised foreign companies by majority acquisition of stakes in key foreign-owned companies. The oil crisis of 1973 and a slump in export revenues put Zambia in a state of economic crisis.

Dr Kaunda was succeeded by Dr. Frederick Chiluba leader of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) on whose ticket he stood as presidential candidate. He won the 1991 Multi-party elections ending his predecessor’s 27-year-rule.

Dr Kaunda is acclaimed for his famous ideology Humanism which promoted love and togetherness among Zambians.

KK’s liberation struggle against white supremacy rule did not simply end in Zambia but was extended to the entire region and beyond. His conviction was that Zambia could not be completely freed while its neighbours were still under chains. He advocated for peace in the region and beyond through platforms such as the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) which is now the African Union (AU), Frontline States and Southern Africa Coordination Conference (SADCC), a precursor to the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Dr Kaunda’s leading role in liberation struggles and brokering peace deals even beyond the region earned Zambia accolades by the international community.