ZAMBIA: Prominent Leader Series—Kenneth Kaunda



Kenneth Kaunda was born April 28, 1924 near Northern Rhodesia. He went on to become the first president of Zambia. Kaunda came to prominence in 1960 in the movement to stop Britain from establishing a federation of North and South Rhodesia and Nyasaland. As the first president of independent Zambia, he helped avert a civil war in the late 1960s but ended up imposing single-party rule. From the 1970s he led other southern African nations in confronting the white-minority governments of Rhodesia and South Africa. He increased Zambia’s dependence on copper exports and on foreign aid, allowing agriculture, education, and social services to languish and poverty and unemployment to increase. Several attempted coups in the early 1980s were crushed; in 1990 he was forced to legalize opposition parties, and in 1991 he was voted out of office.



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