PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan has announced a seven-day national mourning period following the death of Zambia's founding President, Kenneth Kaunda.
The President also ordered the national flag to be flown at half-mast to honour the champion of African nationalism who passed away on Thursday.
According to a statement issued yesterday by the State House Directorate of Communications, the President sent her condolences to Zambia's President Edgar Lungu, the family of the deceased and all Zambians for losing their leader.
The Head of State described the late Dr Kaunda as among the greatest leaders who has ever existed across the African continent.
"In his lifetime, Dr Kaunda largely contributed in championing for African nationalism alongside other leaders, including Tanzania's founding father of the nation, the late Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere. "Besides, the late Dr Kaunda was among the leaders who introduced the now Southern African Development Community (SADC)," said President Samia.
She observed that Tanzania will remember the profound leader for his contribution in promoting good relations and cooperation between the two nations which paved the way for execution of major strategic projects, including the Tanzania Zambia Railwa Authority (TAZARA) and the Tanzania Zambia Mafuta Pipelines (TAZAMA).
"I pray to God to put to rest the soul of Dr Kaunda in eternal peace," noted the President.
Former President Jakaya Kikwete said he received the news of the passing on of former President Kenneth Kaunda (KK) with shock and a deep sense of sadness and sorrow "I convey my heartfelt condolence and sympathies to Your Excellency President Edgar Lungu, KK's family and the friendly people of Zambia."
Dr Kaunda who led his country for 27 years died at the age of 97 years at the MainaSoko Medical Centre, a military hospital where he was being treated for pneumonia.
Meanwhile, world leaders yesterday sent their condolence messages to the President of Zambia, Mr Lungu and the people of the Republic of Zambia.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa also described Dr Kaunda as a pioneering champion of a decolonised, united and prosperous Africa. President Ramaphosa has declared 10 days of mourning to honour the fallen hero.
"This evening we bow our heads in grief at the passing of a beloved and rightfully revered father of African independence and unity - President Kenneth "KK" Kaunda. We are united in our sadness with the Kaunda family and the government and people of the Republic of Zambia," he said in a statement.
President Ramaphosa said Dr Kaunda devoted himself and the Zambian people to supporting liberation movements around the region in their quest for independence and freedom. Zimbabwean President Emerson Mnangagwa described Dr Kaunda as a leader and a liberator.
"I wish to convey our deepest condolences to the Kaunda family on the passing of HE Dr Kenneth David Kaunda, a liberator and leader, and the first president of an independent Zambia. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and the people of Zambia at this time."
President of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki said, "It is with an indescribable sense of loss that the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat learnt of the passing of H. E. Kenneth Kaunda, the first president of the Republic of Zambia and one of the Founding Fathers of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU)."
"Africa has lost one of its finest sons. He embodied the true sense of Pan-Africanism, placing his own country Zambia at grave risk in order to provide safe harbour for the liberation movements of Southern Africa as well as its peoples." He said the African Union stands in solidarity with the Kaunda family, the people and the government of the Republic of Zambia in mourning and honouring the life of a freedom fighter, statesman, visionary and liberation struggle icon.
Bostwana's President Mokgweetsi Masisi who has since declared a seven-day period of mourning in his country described Dr Kaunda as Bostwana's best friend.
"I have learnt of the demise of Dr Kenneth Kaunda, the founding father of the Republic of Zambia, a great statesman, and African leader. Dr Kaunda's death is a loss to his compatriots in Zambia, their friends in Botswana, and the continent of Africa. 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." Reverend Jesse Jackson said Zambia and Africa have lost a champion of freedom and that he has lost a true friend in Dr Kaunda.
"He fought apartheid and colonialism to safe humanity. A freedom fighter!!! RIP Comrade KK!" UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was saddened at the passing on of Dr Kaunda. "Saddened to learn of the death of Kenneth Kaunda. We send our deepest condolences and our thoughts are with the people of Zambia at this difficult time," Mr Johnson said in a tweet.
Former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo said: "In this moment of great loss to Zambians and indeed all Africans, I wish to express my heartfelt condolences to the Kaunda family, President Edgar Lungu, and the government and people of the Republic of Zambia."