Zambia’s founding President Kenneth Kaunda has been admitted to a military hospital in the capital, Lusaka, his office announced in a statement Monday.
“The office and family of the First President wish to inform the general public that Dr Kenneth Kaunda has been unwell and was admitted to Maina Soko Medical Centre,” said the statement issued by his administrative assistant.
His family asked for prayers.
Kaunda was among leaders who formed frontline States to respond to white minority rule and agitate for the liberation of southern Africa.
He started as a popular leader but became increasingly autocratic and banned all opposition parties.
While in power, Kaunda hosted many of the movements that fought for independence or black equality in countries in the region, including South Africa’s African National Congress.
He ceded power in the first multi-party election in 1991.
Still waving his famous white handkerchief, the founding president is rarely seen in public due to old age.
KK, as he is fondly called, a vegan of many years, is one of the few remaining African liberation heroes and has seen the country’s relatively smooth transitions between leaders.
He is still somewhat popular, but not exactly in the political sense.