Kenneth Kaunda

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Kenneth David Kaunda April 28, 1924 -

President of Zambia 1964-1991.

Teacher at Lubwa School from 1943 and Headmaster 1944 -1947. Secretary of the Northern Rhodesia African Congress from 1950, promoted to Secretary-General in 1953 and the organization was renamed the African National Congress (ANC). He broke from the ANC and formed Zambia African National Congress in 1958. ZANC was banned in 1959 and Kaunda was arrested and imprisoned for a few months. On his release he was made President of the newly formed United National Independence Party (UNIP). Kaunda ran as a UNIP candidate during the 1962 elections. As Minister of Local Government and Social Welfare, Kaunda established himself as the most influential African in the government. The British government, tired of civil disobedience, granted independence in 1963 (finalised October 24, 1964). In the 1964 elections, UNIP had a sweeping victory and Kaunda was made Prime Minister of Northern Rhodesia.

Following violence during the 1968 elections and becoming increasingly intolerant of opposition, Kaunda banned all political parties but UNIP in 1972 and made Zambia a one-party state. His policies made Zambia increasingly dependent on revenues from copper exports. As president of a Front Line State, Kaunda had to balance a commitment to majority rule against the country's vulnerability to sabotage or attack. By the mid-1980s corruption and a economic downturn meant that the Kaunda regime had lost public support. Pressure for a return to multiparty politics increased and Kaunda yielded and called for multiparty elections in 1991, in which the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) won and made Frederick Chiluba president.

Kaunda resigned as leader of the UNIP in 2000.