ZAMBIA is under global spotlight as the country mourns the great statesman and acclaimed African liberator Kenneth Kaunda, who devoted his life to creating a just society with equal opportunities for all.
Indeed, the vigour and steadfastness with which Dr Kaunda crafted his plans in his life-time paid off in many instances locally and beyond the national frontiers.
He stood apart from many world leaders, some of whom opposed his hardline stance against Southern Rhodesia’s Ian Douglas Smith and South Africa’s racist and pro-apartheid leader John Vorster.
Yes, his spirited efforts did not go unscathed as Zambia suffered rebel bombings in which citizens and African freedom fighters died while infrastructure such as the Tazara’s Chambeshi Bridge was destroyed.
All the while KK, as he was famously known, focused on the future, opting to suffer the consequences at the time and preserving the joy for generations ahead.
This subsequently paid off as Mozambique and Angola gained independence in 1975, both from Portuguese colonisers.
Namibia followed suit in 1990 and South Africa in 1994 – what an arduous trajectory it was!
Yes, KK expended such audacious efforts at the time the cold war was raging between the Western and Eastern blocs and he courageously fraternised with the latter, at great risk.
Such was his bravery, as even during pre-independence era he and his colleagues faced vicious colonialists.
He may have had glitches, even blunders during his 27-year rule, but he exuded incontestable authority on matters of morality and brooked no nonsense on truant and incompetent subordinates.
KK was admired globally the reason why several heads of state and various dignitaries have flown into the country for the state funeral of this great son of Africa.
He was a revolutionary, visionary and likeable leader!
In fact, it is difficult to describe him in one measure, but easy in a prose that would round-up all his qualities.
It is hoped, therefore, that the rich history will be preserved, and never distorted, for reference and proper posterity.
Thus, present leaders both in the opposition and ruling party in Zambia and elsewhere must draw lessons from this selfless and imposing figure, whose leadership style blended Christianity and unquestionable competence.
He did not only preach love and unity, but he espoused and truly practiced these values, which worked to unite Zambians across the breadth and width of the country.
Zambia needs to remain united now more than ever before because the country goes to the crunch general elections next month.
Therefore, leaders and citizens alike must honour the great statesman by embracing unity and also decanting any tribal and toxic aspersions in public discourse.
Zambia must heal from the political altercations that have the potential to divide the nation.
All politicians ought to realise that public office is meant to serve the people with dignity and integrity all-around; it is not for vanity.
It is also true that citizens are highly expectant and require quality service from competent and caring leaders.
Leaders should emulate the great statesman, KK!