Kenneth David Kaunda (born April 28, 1924), also known as KK, served as the first President of Zambia, from 1964 to 1991.
Kaunda is the youngest of eight children born to an ordained Church of Scotland missionary and teacher. He followed his father's steps in becoming a teacher.
He was at the forefront of the struggle for independence from European rule. Dissatisfied with Nkumbula's leadership of the African National Congress, he broke away and founded the Zambian African National Congress, later becoming the head of the United National Independence Party. He was the first President of the independent Zambia.
From 1968, all political parties except UNIP were banned. At the same time, Kaunda oversaw the acquisition of majority stakes in key foreign-owned companies. The oil crisis of 1973 and a slump in export revenues put Zambia in a state of economic crisis.
Kaunda's logistical support for black nationalist movements in Rhodesia, South West Africa, Angola and Mozambique, aggravated economic problems. His vocal backing of these movements further burdened Zambia, since the white regimes were the country's main trading partners.
International pressure forced Kaunda to change the rules that had kept him in power. Multi-party elections took place in 1991, in which Frederick Chiluba, the leader of the Movement for Multiple Democracy, ousted Kaunda.
Kaunda was briefly stripped of Zambian citizenship in 1999 but the decision was overturned the following year.Early life
Kaunda is the youngest of eight children. He was born at Lubwa Mission in Chinsali, Northern Province of Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia. His father was the Reverend David Kaunda, an ordained Church of Scotland missionary and teacher, who was born in Malawi and had moved to Chinsali to work at Lubwa Mission. He attended Munali Training Centre in Lusaka (August 1941–1943).
Kaunda was a teacher at the Upper Primary School and Boarding Master at Lubwa and then Headmaster at Lubwa from 1943 to 1945. He was for a time working at the Salisbury and Bindura Mine. In early 1948, he became a teacher in Mufulira for the United Missions to the Copperbelt (UMCB). He was then assistant at an African Welfare Centre and Boarding Master of a Mine School in Mufulira. In this period, he was leading a Pathfinder Scout Group and was Choirmaster at a Church of Central Africa Congregation. He was also for a time Vice-Secretary of the Nchanga Branch of Congress.
l 1949, Kaunda returned to Lubwa to become a part-time teacher, but resigned in 1951. In that year he became Organising Secretary of Northern Province's Northern Rhodesian African National Congress. On 11 November 1953 he moved to Lusaka to take up the post of Secretary General of the ANC, under the presidency of Harry Nkumbula. The combined efforts of Kaunda and Nkumbula failed to mobilize native African peoples against the European-dominated Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. In 1955 Kaunda and Nkumbula were imprisoned for two months with hard labour for distributing subversive literature; such imprisonment and other forms of harassment were normal rites of passage for African nationalist leaders. The experience of imprisonment had a radicalizing impact on Kaunda. The two leaders drifted apart as Nkumbula became increasingly influenced by white liberals and was seen as being willing to compromise on the issue of black majority rule, waiting until most of the indigenous population was responsibly educated before extending the franchise. The franchise was to be determined by existing property and literacy qualifications, dropping race altogether. Nkumbula's allegedly autocratic leadership of the ANC eventually resulted in a split. Kaunda broke from the ANC and formed the Zambian African National Congress (ZANC) in October 1958. ZANC was banned in March 1959. In June Kaunda was sentenced to nine months' imprisonment, which he spent first in Lusaka, then in Salisbury.
While Kaunda was in prison, Mainza Chona and other nationalists broke away from the ANC and, in October 1959, Chona became the first president of the United National Independence Party (UNIP), the successor to ZANC. However, Chona did not see himself as the party's main founder. When Kaunda was released from prison in January 1960 he was elected President of UNIP. In July 1961 Kaunda organized a civil disobedience campaign in Northern Province, the so-called Cha-cha-cha campaign, which consisted largely of arson and obstructing significant roads. Kaunda subsequently ran as a UNIP candidate during the 1962 elections. This resulted in a UNIP–ANC Coalition Government, with Kaunda as Minister of Local Government and Social Welfare. In January 1964, UNIP won the next major elections, defeating their ANC rivals and securing Kaunda's position as prime minister. On 24 October 1964 he became the first President of an independent Zambia, appointing Reuben Kamanga as his Vice President.