from ARNOLD MULENGA in Lusaka, Zambia & SAVIOUS KWINIKA in Johannesburg
LUSAKA, (CAJ News) – THE Zambian government has moved to dismiss speculation that its first post-independence, Dr Kenneth Kaunda, has died.
Kaunda, aged 93, was admitted at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in the capital Lusaka for an undisclosed ailment following numerous complaints of fatigue.
Rumours about his death spiked on social media as Acting President, Inonge Wina, and Health Minister, Dr Chitalu Chilufya, visited the former president to assess his response to treatment.
In South Africa, the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) expressed “deepest and most sincere condolences” after Kaunda “passed away.”
“Our continent has lost a father, and a leader. The DA stands with the people of Zambia and wishes them strength during this time of mourning,” DA leader, Mmusi Maimane. The party retracted minutes later
Chilufya however refuted the reports.
“The medical personnel are also conducting general medical checkups on Dr. Kaunda. Dr. Kaunda is in a stable condition and ready to be discharged from hospital today (Thursday),” said Chilufya.
It could not be ascertained at the time of going to press if he was released.
Meanwhile, the Zambian High Commissioner to South Africa, Emmannuel Mwamba, shot down speculation claiming the death of Kaunda.
“Remember, he is 93 years old. I think the doctors wanted to assess him,” Mwamba said.
He said the Zambian mission in South Africa was given a report that Kaunda was faring “quite well.”
He is under medical observation but we are very hopeful. The doctors even stated that he might be discharged very soon,” Mwamba said.
Kaunda was elected president of the former Northern Rhodesia in 1964.
Trade union leader, Frederick Chiluba (now deceased), defeated him in 1991 after the reinstatement of multiple party politics.
Rumours about Kaunda’s death came as the Southern African country is gripped by tensions in the wake of a state of emergency President Edgar Lungu declared after acts alleged arsonists burnt the country’s biggest market. Government
– CAJ News