La Zambie rend un dernier hommage ce vendredi 2 juillet 2021 à Kenneth Kaunda, le père de son indépendance, décédé le 19 juin dernier. La cérémonie funéraire s’est déroulée au National heroes stadium de Lusaka, en présence de différentes personnalités du continent, venues honorer la mémoire de celui qui a été surnommé le « Gandhi africain ».

Des dizaines de dirigeants venus de toute part du continent africain ont rendu un vibrant hommage national à Kenneth Kaunda, le premier président zambien qui s’est éteint mi-juin dernier, à l’âge de 97 ans. Les dépouilles de l’ex-président se sont exposées dans le National heroes Stadium de Lusaka où l’on a tiré plusieurs coups de canons. « Des soldats en treillis militaire ont dansé sur le ton d’une musique solennelle et ont entonné des chants funèbres », rapporte TV5 Monde.

En 1964, Kenneth Kaunda a réussi à arracher l’indépendance de l’ancienne Rhodésie du Nord qui était sous l’emprise de l’empire britannique, sans aucune effusion de sang. C’est ce qui lui a valu le sobriquet de « Gandhi africain ». Ne jouissant pas d’une santé robuste en raison d’une pneumonie, Kenneth Kaunda a été admis à l’hôpital militaire de la capitale zambienne où il a succombé dans l’après-midi du 17 juin.

Au cours de la journée du vendredi, des chauffeurs de taxi ont roulé à travers les rues de la capitale zambienne avec leur feu allumé en signe d’hommage au défunt. « Nous avons décidé de conduire avec nos lumières en signe de deuil pour le Dr Kaunda. Le depart de ce dernier constitue une perte immense pour la Zambie mais aussi pour le monde », a précisé à l’AFP Lazarus Daka, 37 ans, cité par TV5 Monde.

L’actuel président zambien, Edgar Lungu lors de son discours de circonstance a fait savoir qu’il a appris de Kenneth Kaunda « l’importance du patriotisme et de l’unité nationale ». Celui-là qui devrait affronter d’autres adversaires aux prochaines présidentielles, prévues pour le mois d’août prochain, a estimé que la mort du père fondateur de l’État zambien comme une véritable perte pour l’Afrique.

Les chefs d’État ghanéen, Nana Akufo-Addo, et sud-africain, Cyril Ramaphosa, ont pour leur part, considéré la disparition du « Gandhi africain » comme « la fin d’une époque ». Un peu plus loin, Cyril Ramaphosa a rappelé que Kenneth Kaunda était le « dernier leader survivant de la génération qui a ouvert la voie à la libération de l’Afrique colonisée ». 

Né le 28 avril 1924 de parents malawites, dans la mission de Lubwa, au Nord-Ouest de l’actuelle Zambie, « KK » s’est réclamé de son vivant comme un socialiste, proche du Moscou. Durant la fin de sa vie, il a été considéré comme un symbole de sagesse  du continent africain, même si ses adversaires politiques l’avaient considéré comme un véritable autocrate qui ruiné son pays durant son long règne de 27 ans.

Au cours de son administration marquée par la domination du parti unique, il a opté pour l’étatisation des ressources du pays. En effet, « il a collectivisé des fermes et nationalisé les riches mines de cuivre et d’autres secteurs-clefs, au grand dam des propriétaires étrangers. Mais la mauvaise gestion, les dettes et la chute des cours du cuivre ont fini par mettre en échec la zambianisation du petit pays enclavé d’Afrique australe et provoquer une grave crise économique et sociale », a écrit TV5 Monde. Se vantant  d’humaniste chrétien, Kenneth Kaunda fut un fervent opposant du pouvoir raciste d’apartheid en Afrique du Sud. Il a donné tous ses supports au Congrès national africain (ANC) de Nelson Mandela, qui organisait depuis Lusaka la lutte armée contre la suprématie blanche. Aussi a-t-il fourni des soutiens inconditionnels aux  combats pour la libération de toute  l’Afrique australe.

Sources combinées: AFP & TV5 Monde

Marc Wisly HILAIRE

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96 thoughts on “Afrique: Zambie rend un dernier hommage au héros de son indépendance”
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