In this file photo taken on August 17, 2010, Former and first Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda delivers a speech during the closing ceremony of the 30th Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit in Windhoek, Namibia. (Photo by STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / AFP)
President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday paid glowing tributes to the late Zambian leader and one of Africa’s liberation fighters, Kenneth Kaunda.
Zambia’s first president who ruled for 27 years was confirmed dead following a battle with pneumonia. He was aged 27.
In a statement issued by Garba Shehu, one of his spokesperson, Buhari described Kaunda as someone who showed uncommon love for his country.
The Nigerian leader said the foremost freedom fighter was “one of the greatest African and world leaders of all time who loved his country and people profoundly.”
Buhari equally admitted that Kaunda’s death came as a “great shock because I knew his contributions to the development of not only Zambia but also Africa at large.”
File photo of Zambia’s Foreign Minister Hon Joseph Malanji, and President Muhammadu Buhari, alongside other cabinet members during a meeting held earlier in the year.
While in power he hosted many of the movements fighting for independence or black equality in other countries around the region, including South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC).
And Buhari who concurred that the late leader was instrumental to South Africa’s independence, noted that “we can’t forget in a hurry how Kaunda gave shelter to anti-apartheid freedom fighters from South Africa and from former Rhodesia.”
The late Kaunda leader, Buhari added, “was one of the loudest voices for the liberation of Africa from colonialism and imperialism and he did so with passion and sincerity. It is impossible to reflect on Kaunda’s legacy without acknowledging his selflessness and passion for service.”
He also condoled with Kaunda’s family and Zambians over the development.