Kenneth Kaunda The Flames of Struggle

Kenneth Kaunda The Flames of Struggle

Zambia, part of the African continent, gained independence from Great Britain on October 24, 1964. Kenneth Kounda was elected the first president of independent Zambia. Kaunda, then president of Zambia for 27 years, lost the 1991 election. Kenneth Kaunda, who ruled Zambia for 27 years, died last week.

It was reported that Kaunda was admitted to the hospital on June 14 with pneumonia. Three days later, hospital staff announced that he had died. At the age of 97, Kaunda was the last of a generation of African leaders who fought against imperialism. So this is the perfect time to make a note of him.

Early life

In ancient times, the kingdom of Zambia was called Northern Rhodesia. At that time there was an area called Chinsali in the northern part of Rhodesia. On April 28, 1924, two parents of a teacher in the village of Lubwa, in the Chinsali area, gave birth to a baby boy. His parents decided to name him ‘Kenneth Kounda’, the youngest child in a family of eight children.

From an early age, Kenneth Lubva was a gifted learner who attended elementary school. Kenneth’s father, David Kounda, also taught at the school. Kenneth’s father died suddenly while he was still in elementary school. It was an event that touched the heart of little Kenneth. With the death of his father, Kenneth’s family faced financial difficulties. In the midst of those difficulties, Kenneth’s mother arranged for the child to be admitted to Munali School in Lusaka.

After finishing school, Kenneth worked as a miner until he got a job. I went to Tanzania and Southern Rhodesia and did various jobs. After such a difficult period, Kenneth returned to Northern Rhodesia in 1943. After that he started his duties as a teacher at Lubwa School. Enthusiastic and dedicated to his profession, Kenneth soon became a popular figure in the area. The popularity he gained in that way paved the way for him to enter politics.

Entering politics

Kaunda was a founding member of the North Rhodesian African National Congress, founded in 1948, and previously served as secretary of the Indigenous Young Farmers’ Association. The experience gained enabled him to make a successful journey in the political arena. As a result, in 1953, Kounda was appointed Secretary-General of the African National Congress. Harry Nakumbula was then president of the African National Congress. At that time, Nakumbula and Kaunda fought together for the independence of Northern Rhodesia. There they sought to unite the natives and advance the freedom struggle against the British. Kaunda, who thus dedicated his life to the Northern Rhodesian freedom struggle, was imprisoned in 1955. Because of keeping that forbidden literature in a book.

The beginning of a new party

Kaunda, who was imprisoned for several months, returned to Britain after his release. After that I went to India and met leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. During that visit, he contracted tuberculosis and became seriously ill. After spending about a year abroad, Kounda returned to his homeland in 1958. By that time, a group of young people working for the African National Congress were convinced that there was no way forward under Nakumbula’s leadership. By the middle of 1958, Kaundath was frustrated with the party chairman’s actions.

So Kounda and the youth group formed the Zambia African National Congress in October 1958. Kenneth Kounda became the chairman of the newly formed organization.

Their party then launched a series of protests against the British. Kounda was arrested in March 1959 during a political rally organized illegally by the African Union of Zambia. During his imprisonment his followers joined and started the United National Freedom Party. Kaunda, who was released from prison in January 1960, took over as chairman of the new party. It became a decisive event in the Northern Rhodesian War of Independence.

First President of Independent Zambia

At that time Kaunda’s party gained great popularity within a short period of time. Therefore, his party contested the general election held in October 1962. At the time, power in northern Rhodesia was dominated by the white-backed United Federal Party. In the October 1962 general election, the Federalist Party won only 15 seats. While the party won 15 seats, the United National Freedom Party led by Kaunda won 14 seats. Kaunda, who contested for the Bengkulu seat, had obtained 92.45% of the vote. The North Rhodesian African National Congress, led by Nakumbula, won seven seats. At that time Kaunda’s party and Nakumbula’s party formed an alliance government. It went down in history as the first black government in Northern Rhodesian history. Kaunda became the Minister of Local Government and Social Welfare in the newly elected UPFA government.

Taking full advantage of the opportunity, Kaunda did a great service to the people of Northern Rhodesia. So a referendum was formed that Kaunda should be the leader of Northern Rhodesia in the near future. As a result, Kaunda’s party won a landslide victory in the January 1964 general election. The United National Freedom Party which contested under the leadership of Kaunda at that time won 55 out of 65 seats. Kaunda became the Prime Minister of the subsequent government. Prime Minister Kaunda visited London in May 1964 to negotiate with the British for the independence of Northern Rhodesia. Following the success of those talks, the British government decided to grant independence to Northern Rhodesia. Accordingly, on October 24, 1964, Northern Rhodesia became an independent state. After independence, its name was changed to Zambia. Kenneth Kaunda was ordained as the first president of independent Zambia.

The era of rising popularity

When Kaunda took over the presidency, the literacy rate among Zambians was low. So he worked hard to provide a good education for his children. As a result, the government provided free educational equipment to children. High quality schools, universities and technical colleges were newly created in the country. As a result, educated people began to emerge from Zambia. The great change that took place in the field of education under Kaunda’s supervision at that time made the Zambian people fall in love with him even more.

At the time, Zambia was a major source of mineral wealth. Copper production had become their main source of income. In the 1960s, copper mines were highly valued and copper mines generated high returns. As a result, the Zambian economy remained stable. In the 1968 general election, he won 81.8% of the vote, as the people of Zambia enjoyed the rule of Kaunda. In the 1973 general election, Kaunda received 88.80% of the vote. Accordingly, during the period 1964-1973, the popularity of Kenneth Kaunda increased rapidly.

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