ZAMBIA’S founding president, Kenneth Kaunda has died.
He was 97.
Kaunda was hospitalized early this week in Zambia suffering from pneumonia.
Earlier this week Zambia’s former President Kenneth Kaundahas been receiving treatment for an undisclosed illness at a military hospital in the capital Lusaka, his office has said, as the Southern African country battles a surge in COVID-19 cases.
The 97-year-old ruled Zambia from 1964, when the country won its independence from Britain, until 1991. He has been among the continent’s few surviving liberation heroes.
His administrative assistant Rodrick Ngolo said in a statement on Monday that Kaunda had been feeling unwell and had been admitted to the Maina Soko Medical Centre in Lusaka.
“His Excellency Dr Kaunda is requesting all Zambians and the international community to pray for him as the medical team is doing everything to ensure he recovers,” the statement said.
Though the short statement did not specify Kaunda’s illness, Zambia is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases.
Zambia, with a population of about 18 million people, has a cumulative total of nearly 108,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 1,348 deaths, according to figures released on Monday by the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.