Zambia's Kenneth Kaunda to be buried on July 7 after private ceremony

Tuesday June 22 2021
Zambia's President Kenneth Kaunda

Zambia's President Kenneth Kaunda speaks during the funeral of South African former president Nelson Mandela in Qunu on December 15, 2013. PHOTO | ODD ANDERSEN | POOL | AFP



Zambia’s Founding President Kenneth Kaunda will be buried at the presidential burial site in the capital, Lusaka, on July 7, the government announced Monday.

Vice President (VP) Inonge Wina, who made the announcement, said the “very private” ceremony will be for “family and selected invited mourners” only.

Kaunda, a 97-year-old liberation hero, died on June 17 at a military hospital to where he had been admitted days earlier with pneumonia.

Ms Wina said Kaunda's body will be in a closed casket and will be taken to the country’s 10 regions on request by his family.

The VP said, however, that viewing will not be allowed due to the Covid-19 pandemic in the southern African nation , which reported 47 more deaths on Monday, the highest number since the third wave hit.


In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, foreign leaders may be accompanied by just one official, the VP added.

The programme for taking the remains to the 10 regions begins on July 23, with a first stop at Choma, south of the region where Kaunda and his main rival, then African National Congress leader Harry Nkumbula, signed a truce to end rivalry and ushered in a one-party State in 1973.

Zambia has declared 21 days of national mourning while neighbouring states followed suit with most of them mourning for 10 days.

Kaunda ruled from 1964 until 1991 when he lost power to labour leader Fredrick Chiluba.

Chiluba and two other past Presidents, Levy Mwanawasa and Michael Sata, are also buried at the Lusaka site, which is regarded as equal to the Heroes Arc.

Earlier, social media was abuzz following reports that Kaunda preferred being buried next to his wife, Betty, at his residence in east Lusaka.

Additional reporting by AFP