By Busayo Onijala
The African Union (AU) on Thursday described the first President of the Republic of Zambia, the late Kenneth Kaunda, as “one of Africa’s best sons.” “
The chairman of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, revealed this in a statement from Addis Ababa on the occasion of Kaunda’s death.
Kaunda, 97, died Thursday after being admitted to the Maina Soko military hospital in the capital, Lusaka, where he was receiving medical treatment.
Mahamat said that Kaunda, one of the founding fathers of the former Organization of African Unity (OAU) embodied the true meaning of Pan-Africanism.
“He has put his own country, Zambia, at serious risk in order to provide a safe haven for the liberation movements of southern Africa and its peoples.
“His defense of the frontline states to defeat apartheid and the white minority regime in southern Africa laid the foundation for what we today call regional integration.
“The AU stands in solidarity with the Kaunda family, people and government of the Republic of Zambia as we mourn and honor the life of a freedom fighter, statesman, visionary and icon of the struggle for liberation, ”Mahamat said.
The Nigerian News Agency (NAN) reports that Kaunda was the first president of Zambia from 1964 to 1991 and was at the forefront of the struggle for independence from British rule. (NAA)