Founding President Dr Kenneth Kaunda says he has visited various provinces and districts of Zambia and the development he has seen is “very heartening”.
And South African-based Zambian Law Professor Kenneth Mwenda says the leadership pattern in Africa’s new generation is so disappointing because there are not many good stories across the continent to tell.
Speaking when he hosted Voice of America’s Straight Talk Africa presenter Shaka Ssali from his New Kasama residence recently, Dr Kaunda said he stood ready to continue serving the people of Zambia even though he may have retired as President.
“Zambia has been close to me and even after I retired, I have been able to perform in many different ways; for example, I have visited a number of provinces and districts to see exactly what is taking place in the area of development and I find the situation very heartening, I must say, it’s truly heartening. It is all very well to retire from the presidency and allow another human being to take over as President but for me as Kaunda, I stand ready to continue to serve my fellow human beings in this life for as long as I am alive,” Dr Kaunda said.
Meanwhile, Dr Kaunda encouraged the new breed of African leadership to eradicate poverty from the Continent and their respective nations through oneness and unity.
“African unity is an extremely important programme, I came to know a lot of people personally through unity. I knew the president of Ghana, president of Algeria, president of Egypt, Nelson Mandela and many others. We fought for the independence of Mandela and many other leaders whom, through African unity, I have known. I have looked through the different paths in all my life and I thank God that I was of help in all that. Right now, we have to build a new Africa out of poverty, a new Africa out of hatred. We need each of our countries to achieve this. We need to come together today, in our homes, our communities and each one of our leaders must be in a non trouble country,” said Dr Kaunda.
And historian Doctor Sishuwa Sishuwa who is also News Diggers! political columnist said that Dr Kaunda’s successors had not done much in making life easy for Zambian citizens.
Dr Sishuwa who was featured via telephone observed that Kaunda was not as popular as he is today when he left government.
“I think that in many ways, time has rehabilitated Dr Kaunda so much. When he left power in 1991, he wasn’t as popular as he is now and it is important to also note that Kaunda is not someone who was power hungry and I think this is demonstrated by the fact that when he failed the elections in 1991, he did fail two years ahead. He had a five year mandate quite okay but when it emerged that Zambians wanted change, he said ‘I am not going to deny Zambians’ of course he didn’t say that because he wanted to win the elections but I think what has helped him in terms of reinventing himself are a number of factors, the manner in which he left power, the dignified way in which he conceded defeat and allowed for the smooth handover of power is an enduring legacy that I think has made Zambian leaders to lift that tradition.”
“But again his successors in my view have not done much in terms of the development agenda. So many Zambians now look back to the Kaunda years as the dividend period in terms of independence and the failure by his successors I think has highlighted his record when he was power. Dr Kaunda’s first years in office saw major infrastructure development like construction of the University of Zambia and people remember him for that kind of development in education, health and massive investment in the agriculture sector. The new generation of today just hears that the education which is now expensive was once free,” said Dr Sishuwa.
Meanwhile, South African-based Zambian Law Professor Kenneth Mwenda called on Zambian politicians to emulate Dr Kaunda’s legacy.
“Dr Kaunda is a great leader that Africa has seen in the last century, no doubt. But what we are seeing lately in the new generation of leaders is so disappointing. There are not many good stories across the continent to tell and there are mixed feelings if you look at some countries that I wouldn’t even like to mention. There is something unique about Dr Kaunda because he understood that all countries depend on one another and he gave a hand to people who needed help, the ANC of South Africa were crying from Zambia when faced with troubles, Dr Kaunda helped a lot of other countries in fighting their battles. Therefore, Zambian upcoming politicians should be talking to Dr Kaunda, they should learn from what he has done. Let them learn from his successes and failures and do their best to improve,” said Prof Mwenda.