Thursday, 28 April 2016

Happy 92nd birthday the one and only KK - KENNETH KAUNDA

The whole world simply called him KK. What followed was the KK XI, the "KK tears" and the white KK handkerchiefs. He these days refers to himself as "an old man who fought the Boers."

I am talking about Kenneth David Kaunda, who according to one court ruling in the 90s, was a Malawian national who ruled Zambia!

Zambian politics took a dramatic turn in 1996 when they suddenly adopted a new constitution which required that both parents of any presidential candidate be Zambian by birth.

It was an obvious move by Frederick Chiluba to disqualify Kaunda from running in the 1996 elections (Kaunda’s citizenship was later on reviewed by the courts, but finally confirmed in 1999).

Kaunda, whose parents were Malawian, was born in Zambia on 28 April 1924 and served as the first President of Zambia, from 1964 to 1991.

Front-line states

The highlight of his political career was his role in the FRONTLINE states that battled for the liberation and independence of South Africa, and the other neighboring African states

The Southern African Front-line States of Angola, Botswana, Mozambique,
Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe were led by Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere.

The then leaders of the Front Line States, Tanzania’s Julius Nyerere (left), Mozambique’s Samora Moises Machel, Botswana’s Quett Masire, Angola’s Eduardo dos Santos and Zambia’s Kenneth Kaunda spearheaded the decolonisation of Southern Africa.

African Frontline leaders met often, as seen in PHOTO ABOVE at a conference in Lusaka Zambia - Sam Nujoma, Kenneth Kaunda, Samora Machel, Julius Nyerere, Robert Mugabe and Jose E. dos Santos.

They were a club of true friends, and included Uganda's Apollo Milton Obote who later lived in exile in Tanzania and Zambia, and Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya.

Mandela burial

Fast forward to to the 21st century, where Kaunda is in old age, and whose basic work is an ambassador for his country.

It is a role he played well when the world gathered to bid farewell to the Great Mandela. Despite being 89 then, he "sprinted" to the podium.

When he got there, he did not mince his words when he gave a vote of thanks as the whole world watched live on TV. He spoke about the non-Christian laws enforced by the 'boer' leaders of the apartheid era.

Laughter was heard when he referred to the apartheid-era National Party, led by FW De Klerk, as the "Boer" party.

Naturally, his address ran over time. ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa tried to signal to him to wrap up but Kaunda got the audience giggling when he protested, accusing him of "trying to control an old man who fought the Boers".

Earlier, he said: "I had a chance to meet a number of friends of the Boer company. I spent three nights with ([former prime minister John) Vorster on a train (stationed on the railway bridge over Victoria Falls, which separates Zambia and Zimbabwe)." 

"I asked the prime minister to please release Nelson Mandela and his colleagues and come together in discussions. It came to nothing."

"Then came another Boer leader -- I think he was called Botha -- to discuss the future of South Africa together. I didn't succeed and it also came to nothing."

"Then came my meeting with FW de Klerk... and, after a few hours, I called a press conference where I said: 'I think I can do business with this man'. Thank goodness he released this great man."
Kaunda quoted from the Bible and ended his speech by saying "Amen".

Famous quotes

KAUNDA: The power which establishes a state is violence; the power which maintains it is violence; the power which eventually overthrows it is violence.

KAUNDA: The inability of those in power to still the voices of their own consciences is the great force leading to change.

KAUNDA: When you go in search of honey you must expect to be stung by bees.

The KK brand

A quick reminder about the KK brand.

There was the KK XI. The Zambian national team simply called the KK XI, inspired by him, and played to great heights coming close to World Cup qualification before the entire team, save for Kalusha Bwalya, was wiped out in a plane crash in 1993.

There was the KK Tears.  Many in Kenya who think VP William Ruto is a "cry baby", never hear of the father of Zambian independence Kaunda. Whenever he got emotional as he addressed the nation, he simply cried.

There was the handkerchiefs. He always had with him white handkerchiefs, like the kind that the Spanish football fans wave to tell someone his time is over. These he used to dab his eyes after KK tears.

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