25 September 2012

Zambia: Kenneth Kaunda Discharged

Photo: all africa
Former Zambian president, Kenneth Kaunda, at Nkosi's funeral

FIRST Republican President Kenneth Kaunda has been discharged from the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) where he was admitted since Friday last week for an ailment and would be ready to attend the burial of his late wife Mama Betty Kaunda slated for Friday this week.

And Princess Anne of the United Kingdom arrived in the country yesterday for a four-day official visit and has since visited longtime friend, Dr Kaunda who was admitted at UTH for an ailment, to convey her message of condolences on the loss of his wife Betty.

UTH managing director Luckson Kasonka confirmed in Lusaka yesterday that Dr Kaunda was stable and only needed more rest.

Dr Kasonka said Dr Kaunda would require privacy to continue his rest. His sudden illness on Friday left mourners and members of the public bewildered.

He said Dr Kaunda was discharged by midday yesterday and all that was being awaited were modalities to ensure the former President continued to rest.

"The former President, Dr Kaunda has been discharged, he was discharged by 12:00hours today (yesterday) but we have to ensure that he continues to rest but his condition is alright now," Dr Kasonka said.

Dr Kaunda fell ill on Friday last week ahead of a Church service in honour of his late wife, Mama Betty Kaunda.

His condition led to the delayed burial programme for the former First Lady who died in her sleep, while visiting her daughter in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, on September 19, 2012.

Mama Betty was initially supposed to be buried in Chinsali, but the Kaunda family had decided that she be put to rest in Lusaka.

According to a confirmation by acting Secretary to the Cabinet, Roland Msiska, the burial site for Mama Betty had been moved to Lusaka following a decision by Dr Kaunda and family members.

Burial procession would take place as scheduled on Friday this week, Dr Msiska said in a statement in Lusaka yesterday.

Mama Betty would be put to rest at the farm estate located behind State Lodge Police Station, off Leopards Hill Road in Lusaka.

"Guided by the Kaunda family and the First President Kenneth Kaunda, a decision has been made to bury Mama Betty Mukinkhe Kaunda at the Farm Estate which is situated behind State Lodge Police Station, off Leopards Hill Road, in Lusaka," Dr Msiska said.

The burial would be preceded by a Church service at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross beginning at 10:30 hours.

Dr Msiska requested mourners to be seated by 09:45 hours for the Church service.

Earlier, before Dr Kaunda's discharge, Dr Kasonka said UTH medical specialists worked round-the-clock to ensure that Dr Kaunda's condition improved and was ready to bury his late wife.

Dr Kasonka said Dr Kaunda had a high temperature and was weak from suspected dehydration and a respiratory infection.

Dr Kasonka said Dr Kaunda was placed on anti-biotics and was in his jovial mood.

"We are treating him and want to ensure that he is stable so that he attends the burial of his wife. He is very stable for now and we should be discharging him any time. I want to reassure the nation that we will restore him to good health and I thank the medical staff for making him stable," he said.

Dr Kaunda was visited at the hospital's E-21 ward, the VIP section by acting President Alexander Chikwanda, Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba and visiting Princess Anne of the United Kingdom, who is in the country as part of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

Princess Anne and her entourage arrived at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport aboard a British Airways flight and were received by Vice-President Guy Scott and his wife Charlotte and other senior Government officials.

Princess Anne last visited the country in 1985 and was hosted by Dr Kaunda at State House.

Meanwhile, Princess Anne arrived in Livingstone yesterday afternoon on her continued five-day official visit to Zambia.

The plane carrying Her Royal Highness touched down Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport yesterday around 15:19 hours and she was accompanied by British High Commissioner James Thornton among other officials.

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