Former Zambian President Dr. Kenneth Kaunda dies but his legacy lives on: His first speech at 19th session of the United Nations General Assembly in 1964

Former Zambian President Dr. Kenneth Kaunda dies but his legacy lives on: His first speech at 19th session of the United Nations General Assembly in 1964

Zambia’s founding father and the only surviving founding fathers of Organization of African Union dies aged 97

Zambian founding President Kenneth Kaunda dies at 97Kenneth David Kaunda, also known as KK, is a Zambian former politician and Emerged as the first President of Zambia from 1964 to 1991 and undoubtedly father of modern Zambia. He was the only surviving founders of the organization of African Unity (OAU) now known as the African Union.

Kaunda, who led Zambia from 1964 to 1991, died three days after being admitted at a hospital in Lusaka where he was being treated for pneumonia.

Africa has lost a great icon who played a fundamental role in the decolonization of SADC states from white minority rule and he will be remembered for fearlessly fighting apartheid in South Africa.

The President of United States of Africa reaction on twitter:


As Africa mourns this icon here is his address at United Nations General Assembly during 1291st Plenary meeting on Friday, 4 December 1964, at 3PM New York.

1. The PRESIDENT: The General Assembly will nowhear an address before the UN General Assembly in 1964.


The President of the Republic of Zambia was escorted into the General Assembly Hall.
2. The PRESIDENT: I now invite Mr. Kenneth Kaunda, President of the Republic of Zambia, to address the General Assembly.
3. Mr. KAUNDA, President of the Republic of Zambia: Mr. President, it is my great pleasure to add the heartiest congratulations of my Government, my people and myself to those already offered to you on your election. That you sit here as President of this world Organization is an honour that we all share proudly with you because we know that you will discharge your new duties without fear or favour. You will know, of course, that you can depend on us to help to lighten your burdens as much as we can,4. I stand here today a free man, the representative of yet another African country which has won the struggle for liberty and now takes its place among the free nations of the world in its own right.
5. I thank you, Sir, for the welcome which you have accorded to me in the name of Zambia, and I wish to take this opportunity for myself and for my country to make a public declaration and a public pledge. That pledge, made to you, made to the world. is that Zambia will do all in its power to be a worthy Member of this great international Organization. We pledge ourselves to fight for what is right and to be true to the aim expressed, in the preamble to the Charter: “to practice tolerance and live together in peace •..and security”.
6. I speak with the voice of over four million people-the voice of the people of Zambia-but I speak also for those millions who are still not free to speak for themselves. It was in 1962 that I last stood here, and then I wept for the suffering and humiliation of my people at home. Today, even in our jubilation, I weep still. I say to our brothers of South Africa, of Southern Rhodesia, and of the Portuguese Territories: “Today we weep for you. We do not forget you in the day of our triumph. We say for you in the words of the126th psalm: ‘Turn again our captivity, 0 Lord ..•they that sow in tears shall reap in joy I • “7. My people and I believe that we have a special association with this great Assembly. In our joy we are close, for you will know that we chose for the day of our independence 24 October 1964, United Nations Day. Each year, on our Independence Day, we shall be rejoicing with all people in the birth of the United Nations.8. In sadness too we are close; for you all know that it was in OUT country that Dag Hammarskjöld then Secretary-General. died on his way to a mission of peace and reconciliation. We honour his memory and mourn his loss, but his spirit endures in this place, and I and my people salute it.9. Our young diplomats received some of their training this year under the auspices of the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation, and we cherish this association with him and with the great Organization which he helped to build.10. You will understand from this, honourable representatives, that my country regards the United Nations as the greatest single hope which we have for the future, and our membership as the greatest of the responsibilities which our freedom has brought.11. Our aim is the aim of that great champion of freedom, now no longer with us but ever living in our memory and in the memory of all those who still wait for their liberty, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, who said in 1962:”Our basic goal remains the same: a peaceful world community of free and independent states, free to choose their own future and their own system, so long as it does not threaten the freedom of others. “This is also our goal, and it is my purpose to bring my country into every international group which sincerely aims to serve that noble purpose.12. To _this end we belong to the British Commonwealth, in which, with millions of our fellow members of every creed and colour, drawing on a mutual reservoir of wisdom and understanding, we can work towards our common goal of peace and prosperity for our peoples and their neighbours. To this end we also belong to the Organization of African Unity. which, in these last years have made great progress, not only in the fight for freedom of our African brothers ,but also in learning, once free, to settle differences and problems by peaceful discussion and to strive vigilantly and unceasingly. to rid our continent for ever of crimes against humanity wherever they occur and of evils such as imperialism, colonialism ,neo-colonialism and aggression.13. Zambia ‘s policy in external affairs is a simple one. We believe in non-alignment; we maintain our right, having won our independence, to make a free choice in the interests of our people on all the great issues which today divide the world. We feel that it is also our duty to make such sacrifices as are necessary to win freedom for those men everywhere who are not free men today. In these matters we look to the United Nations for guidance, for action and for support. However, our non-alignment is not a withdrawal from world problems. Indeed, it cannot be, for Our geographical position as a land-locked country brings us into direct contact with eight neighbouring States whose policies and actions are of immense concern to us. It would not be fitting that I refer to them in this address, but nevertheless our problems in this respect must be heeded by the Assembly as and when they are brought forward.14. Zambia stands, then, like the other non-aligned nations, for the abolition of colonialism and neocolonialism in all forms and for the right to accept help from East or West without committing our people to accepting political beliefs. We know that independence is only the first step on the road to freedom, and that in taking our country into the complex modern world we need modern institutions and modern skills. We are aware of neo-colonialism in many garbs from many lands. Too often, sometimes unknowingly, technical assistance and aid have contained tendencies towards a new type of dependence, just as difficult to throw off as the old. It is our view that bargains have no part to play in technical assistance. Therefore we ask that countries which offer us their aid should not exploit our needs in order to infringe on our sovereignty, for this is something which we shall guard jealously. The United Nations can best assist us in this, for it represents almost the whole world and contains no dangers of a new colonialism,15. We in Zambia are determined not to become the Political satellites or the economic colonies of anyone, either East or West. We shall vote in this place on the merits of a case and not reject what we believe to be the right course of action simply because we do not want to find ourselves on the same side as one country or another. We intend to make our nonalignment a positive contribution to peace and to do all we can to reduce the areas of tension which un- happily exist today.16. In 1945 the Pan-African Congress, meeting in Britain, expressed the hope that once we had broken our colonialist chains “we, as free nations, would stand united to consolidate and safeguard our liberties and independence from the restoration of Western imperialism as well as from the dangers ofcommunism”.17. In the six years since Ghana won its independence and joined this Assembly, the African countries have, year by year, grown stronger, attracted more support in our struggle to end colonial domination, and turned from being passive onlookers to being a positive force. All this was accomplished without weapons and without great military strength.
18. That we are non-aligned does not mean that we are not committed, that we long for peace doesn’t mean that we are not ready to fight-for we must be neutral in nothing that affects Africa’s interests. Wein Zambia have forgiven the past and will strive to forget our years of suffering and humiliation, but we cannot forget our brothers who are still not free. Yet I do not call for Violence.19. In 1960, speaking from prison, I told my people that, once we had won our struggle we must still look forward to another, not solely for Zambians or Africans but for all humanity. But if we were to use violence before exhausting all other means we should be responsible for the deaths of many of those very people for whom we sought freedom. Therefore we must choose the harder path of ‘non-violence and of positive action which the great Gandhi traced for us, for we must never forget that our battle is to ensure that our oppressed brothers shall not die but live. This is what the African States can do in the United Nations and this place is where we may hope to persuade the powerful countries which can exert effective pressures to do so. Yet I warn you that we in Africa cannot hold our people back for ever nor prevent their burning indignation and shame from breaking out Into action which might set alight the whole world, Patience is an egg from which comes forth great birds-but it can come to an end before the hatching. We understand some of the difficulties but we believe that the United Nations exists for all men and not only for some, that it is the proper instrument for peacefulchange.20. But we cannot wait forever. Men are dying today who will never see their country free. We cannot stand by and be silent. Men had to die in North Africa because there was no way to exert pressure to free them. The world must not let this happen again in southern Africa.21, I have said that the United Nations represents almost, but not quite, the whole world. Some Africans are not represented here-nor is the great and powerful People’s Republic of China. While 700 million people have no voice here, this cannot be a true world Assembly, I hope that this great Organization, to which we now have the honour to belong, will think about this and consider the implications carefully. We, in Africa, are striving to become world citizens. In Zambia, our African society is essentially communal and we have striven not to become divided by tribalism or class consciousness. To this end our motto, emblazoned on our new coat of arms is “One Zambia one nation”.22. When I was privileged to become Chairman of the Pan-African Freedom Movement for East Central and Southern Africa, I had to learn to think about more peoples-more nations-and now in the Organization for African Unity we are learning to sink our national differences and understand clearly that any destructive action is dangerously outdated. We have a vested interest in peace and wish to see everything done to free the world from the fate that menaces it. We wish to keep Africa free of nuclear action, and feel that the nuclear test ban treaty was a most important step forward in showing that East and West are trying not to be the prisoners of rigid ideologies, Now, with the explosion of a Chinese nuclear device still echoing in our ears, it becomes more vital than ever to have a forum where the world, including the Chinese, can meet and talk. The United Nations is such a forum.23, Nevertheless, the United Nations is under continual criticism-criticism that it is weak, If we ignore criticism we become complacent, and that is worse than being weak. But we must accept that the United Nations is as good as what we, the Member Nations, put into it in the way of service to humanity, for I am not alone in thinking that man is one, indivisible and of importance the world over,24. So firmly do we in Zambia believe in the central importance of man that many observers have suggested it is almost an obsession with us, If a nation must have an obsession, we consider that the most desirable one is a belief in the sanctity of man.25. In this context I feel compelled to offer sincere thanks to both the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic and the United States of America for their avowed policy of coexistence. That two great world Powers ,both armed with weapons capable of world destruction, can get together and achieve so much, augurs well both for the future of mankind and for this worldbody.26. So far I have spoken of what we hope to receive from the world, and this is much, for though we have mineral wealth we are a poor country. Our people need teachers, doctors, nurses and every kind of expert in order to reap the reward of our struggle and to use our manpower and our resources to the full. We shall have attained nothing as a Government unless we secure for the common man a higher standard of living, And we must demonstrate our stability to the world. Our internal policies must be above reproach and the basis of power within the country of Zambia must be the people-irrespective of religion, colour or political leanings. The Government must be in a position to secure and maintain law and order for the safety and protection of all law-abiding citizens and, just as important, there must be no amendment to the Constitution regarding a change in Government unless it has been signified by the people and acted on by peaceful and constitutional means.27. We also have much to offer to the world, and I might compare our African spirit to the rushing waters of the mighty Zambezi River whence we derive our name of Zambia. That spirit, harnessed to our political purpose-our will to be free-produced tremendous power, just as the waters of the Zambezi harnessed to the Kariba Dam have produced power for the whole country. This vast store of Pan-African power can be used for good and for the whole world. A distinguished African writer has said: “If the world cannot find a moral basis for its existence, power and force and conflict must be regarded as the only realistic foundation for national policies and international relations. This is where the new nation of Africa may come in to remind the powerful nations that the true path to harmonious relations and world peace lies in focusing attention on human beings and in going out in a spirit of brotherhood to meet human needs. “If East and West joined together to meet the moral challenge to serve the needs of Africa, the most needy continent, they might, through their co-operation to serve a needy brother, rediscover their own brotherhood and so save humanity. “I believe there is a profound truth in this statement.28. It is also my belief that Africa has something of importance to contribute to the world. Our African personality contains elements of simplicity, of service, of community, which all the world needs, Our economic life has always been based on what I should like to describe as a traditional co-operative way of living. This is the African substitute for the capitalism, socialism and communism of the East and West. We offer it as our contribution to the world sum of experience.29, Our aim as Africans in the world Assembly will always be to find a common moral language with all mankind, to seek out one another and unite, We see no alternative to negotiation and consultation in the real and abiding settlement of disputes.30. In the name of Zambia I thank you for receiving us into your community. We ask now to exercise our right, as a member of the United Nations, thoughtfully and without arrogance. And I hope and pray the day will soon come when this great body, the United Nations, knows each and everyone of us only as citizens of the world–nothing more and nothing less.

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