UNITED States President Barack Obama has commended former President Kenneth Kaunda for his contribution to growth of democracy in Africa.
President Obama said he appreciates the significant role Dr Kaunda played to African politics.
Mr Obama said this in Johannesburg, South Africa on Tuesday after the national memorial service for former South African President and freedom icon, Nelson Mandela, at the FNB Stadium.
The US president walked up to Dr Kaunda after the ceremony and had a brief chat during which he hailed the former Zambian president’s contribution to the liberation of Africa.
Zambia’s deputy High Commissioner to South Africa Joe Kaunda confirmed in an interview yesterday that Dr Kaunda and Mr Obama had the impromptu chat.
He said Dr Kaunda was appreciated by a number of world leaders who attended the memorial service for his role in the liberation struggle.
“A number of leaders acknowledged the role Dr Kaunda played in African politics.
“President Obama moved from where he was seated to the car park as a number of people wanted to greet him but he spared time to meet Dr Kaunda for a brief chat,” Mr Kaunda said.
Dr Kaunda was accompanied to the memorial service by Vice-President Guy Scott, his wife Charlotte, Minister of Foreign Affairs Wylbur Simuusa, Minister of Gender and Child Development Inonge Wina and Minister of Education John Phiri.
During Dr Kaunda’s presidency, Zambia hosted South Africa’s African National Congress which led the fight against apartheid and for equal rights.
Dr Kaunda also supported liberation fights in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Angola and Namibia.
One wonders how many or if any current or future Southern Africa presidents would fancy the attention Mandela’s memorial got and if, like KK, are now wishing they left office after the first term. The likes of KK should have fought for independence, liberated the country and then become advocates of human rights inside Zambia first, instead of spending countless years on Humanism ideologies which died with the demise of UNIP in 1991. I guess what set Mandela apart was his readiness to sacrifice even his own life for his beliefs even when he was President.
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