Africa

Former Zambia president Kenneth Kaunda hospitalised

Sapa-AFP

Zambia's founding father and former president Kenneth Kaunda was taken to hospital on Sunday.

Zambia's founding father and former president Kenneth Kaunda was taken to hospital on Sunday. (Gallo)

Zambia's founding father and former president Kenneth Kaunda was taken to hospital on Sunday, but is said to be in good spirits, the government said.

President Michael Sata visited his predecessor in a Lusaka hospital, where 89-year-old Kaunda is reportedly being treated for fatigue.

Images released by the Zambian government showed Kaunda standing and smiling while receiving guests including Sata.

"The first lady and I have just returned from Lusaka Trust Hospital where we went to visit our founding president Dr Kenneth David Kaunda," Sata said in a statement after the visit.

"We were happy to find KK in high spirits. Get well soon."

Kaunda ruled Zambia for 27 years from independence in 1964.

While in power he hosted many of the movements fighting for independence or black equality in other countries around the region, including South Africa's African National Congress.

Increasingly autocratic
Initially a popular leader, he became increasingly autocratic, but eventually ceded power in the first multi-party elections in 1991.

Later in life he regained stature as one of Africa's political giants, helping mediate crises in Zimbabwe and Kenya.

Kaunda also became an Aids campaigner, announcing publicly one of his sons had died from the illness.

Last December he charmed mourners at Nelson Mandela's burial.

When organisers attempted to usher him away from the podium after he ran over his allotted time, he drew laughs by saying they were "trying to control an old man who fought the boers". – Sapa-AFP

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