Rabbison Chongo, a leading figure in the ex-president's United National Independence Party (Unip), said Mr Kaunda was in hospital, but his life was not in danger. Police Inspector General Francis Ndhlovu confirmed Mr Kaunda had been shot, but would not comment further.
Mr Chongo said police had fired at a vehicle carrying 73-year-old Mr Kaunda, who led Zambia from independence in 1963 until 1991, and other opposition leaders including Liberal Progres-sive Front leader Roger Chongwe, who was also wounded.
"Dr Kaunda's condition is not so bad," said Mr Chongo. "The one who is in very bad condition is Dr Chongwe, who was shot in the neck. He is undergoing surgery."
Mr Chongo said Unip leaders who had been present told him police fired on the car as Mr Kaunda was driving away from Unip's local headquarters after being prevented from addressing a crowd there.
Party leaders said paramilitary police had been brought into Kabwe from Lusaka for the rally. They raided the headquarters, arresting 30 party members. When Mr Kaunda went to his local party offices to try to address supporters, police fired tear gas to break up the meeting.