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Buhari, Obasanjo, Jonathan: Kaunda, a great African, world leader

President Muhammadu Buhari has described Zambia’s founding father and independence nationalist, Kenneth Kaunda as one of the greatest African and world leaders of all time who loved his country and people profoundly. Equally, former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, also paid tribute to Kaunda, who died on Thursday at the age of 97.

A statement issued by his spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, President Buhari said: “I have received his passing with great shock because I knew his contributions to the development of not only Zambia but also Africa at large. “We can’t forget in a hurry how Kaunda gave shelter to anti-apartheid freedom fighters from South Africa and from former Rhodesia.” On his part, Obasanjo in a tribute titled: ‘Gone Is The Last of The Mohicans: Tribute To Kenneth Kaunda’, said Kaunda’s death had brought to end the pioneers and forefathers who led the struggles for decolonisation of the African continent and received the instrument of Independence from the colonial masters in Africa.

Obasanjo, in a statement made available to journalists by the Special Assistant to Obasanjo on Media, Mr. Kehinde Akinyemi, in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, said, he arrived and was welcomed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Thursday night, by the sad news of the death of the first President of the Republic of Zambia and a founding father of the nation, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda.

He said: “In this moment of great loss to Zambians and indeed all Africans, I wish to express my heartfelt condolences to the Kaunda family, President Edgar Lungu, and the government and people of the Republic of Zambia.” Meanwhile, Jonathan, in a condolence message to his family and the Government of Zambia, described him as a foremost Pan-Africanist who was of great significance to the continent’s struggle for liberation. Jonathan also described his relationship with the late sage as very cordial, adding that he visited him in Yenagoa during his time as the Governor of Bayelsa State. He said: “I am deeply saddened by the passing on of former Zambian President and foremost Pan-Africanist Dr. Kenneth Kaunda who died today at the age of 97 years.”

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