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Kenneth Kaunda
Kenneth David Kaunda detail DF-SC-84-01864.jpg
Kaunda during an official visit to the United States in 1983
1st President of Zambia
In office
24 October 1964 – 2 November 1991
Preceded by British Colonial Governor
Succeeded by Frederick Chiluba
3rd Secretary General of the Non-Aligned Movement
In office
8 September 1970 – 5 September 1973
Preceded by Gamal Abdel Nasser
Succeeded by Houari Boumédienne
Personal details
Born 28 April 1924 (1924-04-28) (age 96)
Chinsali, Northern Rhodesia
Nationality Zambian
Political party UNIP
Spouse(s) Betty Kaunda
Children 8
Profession Teacher

Kenneth David Buchizya Kaunda (born 28 April 1924), also known as KK, is a Zambian former politician who served as the first President of Zambia from 1964 to 1991.

Kaunda is the youngest of eight children born to an ordained Church of Scotland missionary and teacher. He followed his father's steps in becoming a teacher. He was at the forefront of the struggle for independence from British rule. Dissatisfied with Harry Nkumbula's leadership of the Northern Rhodesian African National Congress, he broke away and founded the Zambian African National Congress, later becoming the head of the United National Independence Party.

He was the first President of the independent Zambia. In 1973 following tribal and inter-party violence, all political parties except UNIP (he was president of UNIP0 were banned through an amendment of the constitution after the signing of the Choma Declaration. At the same time, Kaunda oversaw the acquisition of majority 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. International pressure forced Kaunda to change the rules that had kept him in power. Multi-party elections took place in 1991, in which Frederick Chiluba, the leader of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy, ousted Kaunda.

Kaunda was briefly stripped of Zambian citizenship in 1999, but the decision was overturned the following year. At 96, he is currently the oldest living former Zambian president.

After retiring, he has been involved in various charitable organisations. His most notable contribution has been his zeal in the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS. One of Kaunda's children was claimed by the pandemic in the 1980s. From 2002 to 2004, he was an African President-in-Residence at the African Presidential Archives and Research Center at Boston University.

Awards and honours

  • On 21 May 1963, he received an honouary degree of Doctor of Laws from Fordham University
  • On 28 May 1975 was made Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Prince Henry
  • On 10 December 2002 Kaunda was awarded the Supreme Companion of OR Tambo by South Africa
  • On 4 October 2007 was made a Commander of the Most Courteous Order of Lesotho
  • On 19 October 2007 Kaunda was the recipient of the 2007 Ubuntu Award

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