The Zambian government has declared 21 days of national mourning, with flags flying at half-mast following the death of former president Kenneth Kaunda on Thursday.Cabinet secretary Simon Miti said in an address on public television said Kaunda "died peacefully" at 14:30 at a military hospital where he had been receiving treatment since Monday.
The government official said Kaunda had been admitted to hospital with pneumonia.Miti said it was with "deep regret and sorrow" that President Edgar Lungu announced "the passing of our beloved founding father, icon and global statesman".The government declared 21 days of national mourning, with flags flying at half-mast, and suspended all forms of entertainment."You have gone at a time we least expected," Lungu said on Facebook, describing him as a "true African icon."
Kaunda ruled Zambia for 27 years, taking the helm after the country gained independence from Britain in October 1964.
"This is really a dark day for Zambia," a 50-year-old Lusaka resident Herbert Simbeye, who attended the same church as Kaunda, told AFP."At his 90th birthday, my son was one of the people who gave KK flowers at church"."We will not forget Kaunda's contributions to the struggles against colonialism and apartheid," the Nelson Mandela Foundation said in a statement.