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February 22, 2024

Zambia’s founding president Kenneth Kaunda not dead, says envoy

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By Mark Longyen

Zambian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Solomon Jere, has refuted media reports that the country’s founding president, Kenneth Kaunda, is dead.

The High Commissioner, who made the clarification, on Wednesday, in Abuja, at a media briefing, urged people to ignore the reports which, he described, as ‘’contemptuous rumours.’’

The High Commissioner said, ‘’the office of the High Commissioner wishes to refute social media reports that Dr Kenneth Kaunda has died.

‘’We will like to inform all Zambians resident in West Africa, and the international community at large, that Zambia’s founding president is alive, fine and in good spirit”, he said.

Kaunda, one of the leaders of the front-line states, comprising Nigeria, Tanzania and Zambia, that helped in the liberation of most of southern Africa from colonialism, is 96 and will turn 97 on April 28.

The High Commissioner also refuted media reports that Zambia had lost its sovereignty to China over bad debts, stressing that such reports were ‘’despicable.’’’

He explained that it was not true that China intended to repossess some Zambian state-owned enterprises because of the government’s failure to settle its outstanding debt obligations to China.

‘’Zambia has not offered any of its assets as collateral security, for any of its bilateral or multilateral loans, and, therefore, there are no state enterprises at risk of being repossessed.

‘’I want to assure the international community that the government of the Republic of Zambia is working very hard to revitalize the country’s economy, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic,’’ Jere said.

According to the High Commissioner, Zambia is revitalizing her economy by diversifying away from mining to agriculture, tourism and renewable energy.

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