Kaunda, Kenneth David

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Kaunda, Kenneth David

(koun`də), 1924–, African political leader, president of Zambia (1964–91), b. Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia). A teacher and welfare officer, Kaunda opposed the formation (1953) of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. His party was banned (1959), and Kaunda imprisoned, but in 1960 he was released and became head of the new United National Independence party. In 1962 he rejected a constitution proposed by Great Britain for Northern Rhodesia, charging that it would perpetuate white supremacy. Nevertheless, he took part in elections that October, and after winning a parliamentary seat, formed a coalition government. He achieved dissolution of the federation in 1963.

In 1964, Zambia became independent with Kaunda as president. In 1969, he nationalized Zambia's copper mines. Faced with increasing ethnic dissension, Kaunda established a one-party state in 1972. In foreign affairs Kaunda played a central role in opposing white-supremacist governments in Rhodesia (now ZimbabweZimbabwe
, officially Republic of Zimbabwe, republic (2015 est. pop. 14,229,000), 150,803 sq mi (390,580 sq km), S central Africa. It is bordered on the north by Zambia, on the northeast and east by Mozambique, on the south by South Africa, and on the southwest and west by
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), South Africa, and South-West Africa (now NamibiaNamibia
, officially Republic of Namibia, republic (2015 est. pop. 2,426,000), c.318,000 sq mi (823,620 sq km), SW Africa. It is bordered by Angola in the north, by Zambia in the northeast, by Botswana in the east, by South Africa in the southeast and south, and by the Atlantic
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), despite the attacks and hardships these policies caused Zambia. Kaunda was elected to his fifth consecutive term in 1988, but in 1990 he was forced to restore a multiparty system. He was overwhelmed in a 1991 election by Frederick ChilubaChiluba, Frederick Jacob Titus,
1943–2011, Zambian labor and political leader. After several low-level jobs, he joined a union and rose in the labor movement to become (1974) chairman of the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions.
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Out of office, he carried on a politial feud with Chiluba, whose government repeatedly arrested him. Kaunda became head of the main opposition party in 1995, but a constitutional amendment banned him from running in the 1996 presidential election, and in 2000 he retired from political life. He has written several books, including Black Government (with C. M. Morris, 1960) and the autobiographical Zambia Shall Be Free (1962).


See biography by F. T. Polatnick and A. L. Saletan (1972); R. Gulhati, Impasse in Zambia (1989).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kaunda, Kenneth David


Born Apr. 28, 1924, in Lubwa, Northern Province (Zambia). Statesman and political figure of the Republic of Zambia.

By profession a teacher, Kaunda became one of the leaders of the African National Congress (ANC), the first African political party of Northern Rhodesia, in 1949. He was secretary-general of the ANC from 1953 to 1958. In 1958 he left the party with a group of radical members of the ANC and in early 1959 founded the Zambia African National Congress. The party was outlawed the same year, and Kaunda was arrested. Upon his release in 1960, Kaunda became president of the United National Independence Party, which has been the governing party of Zambia since 1964. He formed the first government of Northern Rhodesia in January 1964. On Oct. 24, 1964, Kaunda became president, head of the government, and defense minister of the Republic of Zambia.


Zambia Shall Be Free. London [et al., 1962].
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.