Reports claiming that Zambia’s founding president, Kenneth Kaunda is dead are false, the Zambian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Solomon Jere, says.
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-year-old and will turn 97 on April 28.
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.
According to him, Dr Kenneth Kaunda is not dead.
“We wish to refute the social media report alleging that Dr Kenneth Kaunda the first Republican President of Zambia has died, he is not dead, he is very much alive and extremely healthy.
“We will like to inform all Zambians resident in Nigeria and in West Africa, and the international community at large, that Zambia’s founding president is alive, fine and in good spirit.”
The High Commissioner also refuted media reports that Zambia had lost its sovereignty to China over bad debts, stressing that such reports were despicable.
According to him, 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.
” in view of the above, I will like on behalf of the Zambian government and on behalf of his Excellency, the President, Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu to assure the international community that the government of the Republic of Zambia is working very hard to revitalise the country’s economy in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic,’’ he said.
According to the High Commissioner, Zambia is revitalising her economy by diversifying away from mining to agriculture, tourism and renewable energy.