Jonathan: ‘Kaunda was a pan-Africanist and sage who touched me personally’

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Late Dr Kenneth Kaunda

ABUJA – Nigeria’s former President has paid tribute to former Zambian President, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, who died on Thursday at the age of 97.

In a condolence message to his family and Government of Zambia, Jonathan described the late Kaunda as a foremost Pan-Africanist who was of great significance to the continent’s struggle for liberation.

Dr. Jonathan also described his relationship with late sage as very cordial, adding that he visited him in Yenagoa during his time as the Governor of Bayelsa state.

Below is full text of the statement:

“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.

“Not only was he of very great significance to ’s struggle for liberation he was also quite significant to me. I met him as a much younger politician and I am glad to have maintained a close relationship with the great sage.

“Kaunda was a specimen of the highest level of patriotism. He was also a strong promoter of Pan-Africanism, an idea that has reached maturity with the African Continental Free Trade Area, which itself was a product of the vision of men and women like Mr. Kaunda.

“His life was a pattern of good works, and his post-presidential work in providing relief for HIV/AIDS patients, as well as promoting practices and measures to curb the spread of the virus are remembered.

“During my time as the Governor of Bayelsa State in 2006, Pa Kaunda visited and spent two days with us in Yenagoa, because of our shared interest in the protection of our peoples against the scourge of HIV/AIDS.

I recall with relish the impressive pace displayed by Kaunda, then aged 82 years, at the symbolic Three Arms Walk for HIV/AIDS on the streets of Yenagoa.

 “He visited me a couple of times when I was in as President of Nigeria. We last saw each other in 2016 when I visited him while I was in as Head of the African Union (AU) Election Observation Mission.

He will be greatly missed and fondly remembered across the entire continent.

“On behalf of the Foundation and my family, I condole with the government and people of the Republic of on the passing of their foremost founding father.”