Botswana: Kenneth Kaunda Death - Botswana President Masisi Declares 7-Day Mourning

Kenneth Kaunda, First President of the Republic of Zambia, at a ceremony marking the fortieth anniversary of Africa Day in New York in 2003.

Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi has declared a seven-day mourning period following the death of Zambia's founding President Kenneth Kaunda.

"I have learnt of the demise of Dr Kenneth Kaunda, the founding father of the Republic of Zambia, a great statesman, and African leader. In honour of this great son of the soil, I have declared a seven-day mourning period in Botswana during which all flags shall fly at half-mast," the president said in a statement Thursday.

"Dr Kaunda was Botswana's best friend and together with the likes of Sir Seretse Khama and Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, championed the liberation and independence of our region...Former President Kaunda's death is a loss to his compatriots in Zambia, their friends in Botswana, and the continent of Africa. We send our condolences to the people of Zambia during this trying time".

He said Dr Kaunda was the first Head of State to visit Botswana shortly after independence in 1966.

"His four-day State Visit to Botswana, from May 21st, to May 24, 1968 ushered in a period of unparalleled excellent bilateral relations between Botswana and Zambia; after Zambia attained its own independence from British colonial rule which saw Dr Kaunda assuming the first presidency of the country in 1964."

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