A Leader In Peace & Equality

“A Leader In Peace & Equality, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda”

By: Tony Branch

Peace is something that all civilization have been trying to achieve, as long as man has walked this earth. Very few individuals can truly say peace & equality for his people and for all of mankind, has been a lifelong obsession of theirs. Like his dear friends in life, the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, and former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, Kenneth Kaunda can say that he shares a unique position in history, with these two men of peace.

Dr. Kenneth Kaunda’s accomplishments were celebrated twice this year, by the World’s Civility & Peace Ambassador, Dr. Clyde Rivers. The latest occurrence was during the 2nd Annual World Civility Day on April 13th 2017; in the Northwest Indiana’s celebration. Dr. Clyde Rivers heads the world’s largest honoring organization, for individuals and institutions who promote & live a life of peace.

As a young man, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda followed his father into the teaching profession. David Kaunda religious teachings & love for education was deeply installed in the youngest son of his eight children. Kenneth Kaunda truly understood his father’s words and teachings; but “Patience” was one of the toughest lesson he ever had to learn. Only if Kenneth Kaunda knew how true that above statement was going to be; in his controversial, but historic life.

A man who was one of the original “Freedom Fighters” in Africa, who fought back against Britain’s old Colonialism ways; to bring forth the land / people he loved to a place of independence. The words in this article, can’t truly express how hard it actually was; and how often his passion could have cost him his life. He was willing to have violence brought against him, to bring his people to a place of peace.  A man who was locked up and imprisoned for many years during his life; just because he wanted to be treated like a human being and live in peace. A lot of times, like his good friend Nelson Mandela, he was left alone with his thoughts & faith in the jail cells; dreaming about the day he would see his family and friends again.

Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, an original Freedom Fighter for Africa, has held some key positions in his lifetime; here are some to just name a few: Head of the African Union, Head of the United National Party, Secretary General of the African National Congress (ANC); the Head of United National Independent Party. The most important position he held was being elected the First President of Zambia (1964-1991); where he was able to make positive changes. He championed the efforts to improve education, where less than 0.5% had completed primary education, the worst of any former Britain Colonial Territories. He always remembered the words & teachings of his father. He wanted people to get an education, like he had years ago. He orchestrated free school supplies for young students, to help encourage them and their parents; to get them to school, and to believe in the process.

Kenneth Kaunda was passionate about education; and once again, encouraged the people of Zambia to donate to building of their first university in 1966 (in Lusak). He would later become chancellor of the university, and officiated their first graduation ceremony in 1969. In 1979, another campus was built at the Zambia Institute of Technology in Kitwe. In 1988, this campus was upgraded and renamed Copperbelt University; offering business studies, industrial studies; and environmental studies.

Kenneth addressed the lopsided business practices within his country as well; so the people of Zambia had more control. He negotiated better contracts with the three most powerful  companies doing business in his country (by acquisition of stakes in the key foreign-owned companies). Kenneth has always been a forward thinker; but he’s not afraid to seek out help in areas that he might not have much experience in. For example, he traveled to the United States to seek out the advice of one Dr. Martin Luther King Jr; the Civil Rights Southern Leader. These two power men had a couple days of meetings about the plight of their people in two different countries; but more or less having the same basic problems of “equality & respect.” When Kenneth Kaunda left Atlanta,Georgia, he felt he had gained valuable knowledge from Dr. King. Later that year, he was voted president of the United National Independence Party (UNIP).

In 1961, he organized a civil disobedience campaign in the Northern Province called the “Cha-Cha-Cha Campaign.” A man who also united over 70 tribes in his country, for the sake of peace. A man who helped to negotiate the release of his fellow Freedom Fighting friend, Mr. Nelson Mandela on February 11th 1990, after 27 and a half years in prison. The president at the time (FW de Klerk), saw the writings on the wall; it was time for apartheid to go. Mr. Mandela ran and won the presidency of South Africa in 1994; which signified the real beginning of change; and the formation of the democratic government the same year.

President Kenneth Kaunda met with kings, prime ministers, and presidents of other countries. He may not have agreed with some of the world leaders that he had met at the time, but he made sure that all of his decisions never hurt the land and the people he loved in Zambia. Even the time when he was stripped of his Zambian citizenship in 1999, later to be overturned the follow year, he never felt hatred for the country he loved.

In Dr. Kenneth Kaunda’s post presidency, he’s involved in various charitable organizations. His most notable contribution has been with fighting HIV / AIDS; because he also had lost a child to this terrible disease in the 1980’s. He is still using his voice to spread peace in his country and around the world.

Thank you so much Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, for being an historical change for mankind.

Tony Branch
Goodwill / Peace Ambassador for ICN

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