Tributes and condolences are pouring in from everywhere for departed Zambian leader and first post-Independence President of the Southern African nation, Dr Kenneth Kaunda.
Zambian president, Edgar Lungu, took to his official Facebook page to pay tribute to the late liberation hero.
“Dear KK, I learnt of your passing this afternoon with great sadness,” he wrote.
“You have gone at a time we least expected but we are comforted that you are now with Our Father, God Almighty in heaven. On behalf of the entire nation and on my own behalf I pray that the entire Kaunda family is comforted as we mourn our First President and true African icon.”
Kaunda passed away at a military hospital in Lusaka where he was being treated for pneumonia.
More tributes have been coming in for Zambian founding president Kenneth Kaunda, who died on Thursday at 97.
Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan said Africa had “lost a liberation fighter, patriot and true Pan-Africanist”.
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa said the country was mourning “a beloved and rightfully revered father of African independence and unity – President Kenneth ‘KK’ Kaunda”.
The country’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), hailed Kaunda as a giant of South Africa and the continent’s liberation struggle.
Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi described the late former president as an “iconic statesman of the highest credentials” for his “selfless dedication to the interests of his own country as well as the well-being of neighbours and humankind at large”.
He said Kaunda was Botswana’s “best friend during the worst of time” for his role in the country’s struggle for independence.
President Masisi announced seven days of mourning for the late Zambian leader.
As father of modern Zambia, a 21 day national mourning period has already been declared in his honour by President Lungu.
Former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo recollected that he was one of the last icons of independence struggle who made enormous sacrifices for the continent.
“My prayer is that the death of this great African son and leader will remind us of the sacrifices that he and his contemporaries who fought for Africa’s independence made”, he said.