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PRESIDENT KENNETH DAVID KAUNDA

President Kenneth Kaunda

President Kenneth Kaunda was born in 1924 in Lubwa, Zambia(formerly Northern Rhodesia). Like many other African founding fathers, including Moi, Mugabe, and Nyerere, he was first a teacher before venturing into politics. He began his teaching career at Lubwa Training School in 1943. His exemplary leadership qualities earned him an early promotion to the position of School Headmaster in 1944, a position he held until 1947. Kaunda's political career can be traced to 1953 when he became Secretary- General of Northern Rhodesia's African National Congress(ANC). He later transformed this party to Zambia African National Congress in 1958. In 1959, Kaunda was jailed and his party banned. After his release from prison in 1960, he was elected President of the United National Independent Party, which played a pivotal role in Zambia's struggle for independence. He remained head of United National Independent Party throughout his presidency in Zambia, and left in 1992, one year after he lost the country's presidency.

In the 1962 elections. he won a parliamentary seat and became part of the coalition government, serving as Northern Rhodesia's Minister for Local Government and Social Welfare. In 1964, Kaunda became Zambia's Prime Minister and when Zambia gained independence the same year, he became the country's first President. In 1972, Kaunda made Zambia a one-party state. He survived a military coup in 1990, and after pressures from both home and abroad for him to open up the political playing field in Zambia, he reluctantly accepted Multi-Party Democracy in 1991. During the memorable 1991 election, Kaunda was handed a humiliating defeat by his main opponent Frederick Chiluba of the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy(MMD), who capitalized on Kaunda's long and generally poor economic reign. But in a surprising turn of events, Chiluba, Zambia's "liberator" in 1991 turned oppressor in 1996, when he constitutionally barred Kaunda from running for office again. Though Chiluba went on to win re-election in the 1996 elections, he took a serious credibility hit for his actions towards Kaunda.

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