FIRST republican President Dr Kenneth Kaunda says AU’s recognition of contributions he made towards the liberation struggle is not his alone but for all Zambians.
Speaking shortly after his arrival in Addis Ababa on Wednesday night ahead the 50th anniversary celebrations of the AU, which has coincided with the 21st AU heads of states Summit , where he will be honoured for his contributions towards the fight against colonial rule, Dr Kaunda said the decision was a great honour to Zambia.
“I am grateful to them for recognising what Zambia did during the days of struggle. They are not honouring one man, they are honouring the country and I am grateful for that and we are here to say thank you for Zambia,” Dr Kaunda said.
“Africa has recognized what you (Zambia did).”
He said it was gratifying for to honour him and other African leaders for their contributions, which culminated into the formation of OAU, now called AU.
Dr Kaunda underscored the importance of the view held by the founding fathers in the formation of the union.
“AU was born out of the organization of many nations. Our leaders saw the importance of African Union. Europe has been pushing here and there to come together. America is doing the same thing. China and India are doing the same thing,” Dr Kaunda explained.
“Africans are coming together by creating more regional areas like SACD, COMESA, ECOWAS all these are signs of African leaders want to create conditions of coming together in the end. So I am hopeful that Africa as a Union will continue to build the unity of Africa in all fields.”
He reiterated that for unity to exist Africans must accept the differences in cultural, religious and tribal affiliations. “Zambia stands united today. That is how Zambia fought for independence, helped Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Namibia.
And history was rekindle shortly after Kaunda Dr Kaunda, fondly known by many Africans as KK, met with former OAU/AU secretary general William Eteki at Bole’s VIP lounge on his arrival. Eketi of Cameroon, served as AU secretary general from 1974 to 1978. Dr Kaunda who arrived in Addis Ababa arrived aboard an Ethiopian Airline slightly earlier than Eteki was elated when Eketi recognized him and walked to him( Dr Kaunda) to embrace him.
“You are looking very young,” Dr Kaunda remarked as he (Eketi) responded, “you too. Well come!”.
Dr Kaunda then proceeded to introduced Justice minister Wynter Kabimba and secretary general of the party to Eketi. Dr Kaunda who was in a visibly jovial mood recalled his days back with Williams as the two continually shook arms.
Dr Kaunda was in the company of justice minister Wynter Kabimba. The 50th anniversary celebrations slated for Saturday, will be held under the theme ‘Pan-Africanism and African renaissance’.
The OAU, was birthed at the first meet AU meeting of held on May 24, in 1963 meeting of head’s state of government, that had gained independence at the time.
In addition to his efforts in Zambia, Dr Kaunda was in the forefront to the efforts to liberate all of Africa, serving as the President of the Pan-African Freedom Movement for east, central and southern Africa(pafmesca) in 1962 and as chairman of the OAU from 1970 to 1973.
He played a key roles in mitigation of territorial disputes between Kenya and Somalia and the liberation movements in Angola, Mozambique,Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
He is now devoting his energies and time to fighting HIV/AIDS in Africa