Kaunda's son and political heir is assassinated

THE DEATH from gunshot wounds yesterday of Wezi Kaunda, the son of Zambia's former president Kenneth, marks the latest sad chapter for one of Africa's elder statesmen, in a country which, for all its 35 years of peace, remains divided.

Major Kaunda, 47, was shot several times at the front gate of his Lusaka house, as he arrived home on Wednesday evening with his wife Didi.

He was a prominent member of his 75-year-old father's United National Independence Party (Unip) and there was immediate speculation that the shooting was politically motivated, though police put it down to "bandits". He was rushed to hospital and underwent surgery to remove four bullets.

The family has faced such violence before. In August 1997, during a shooting at a rally, Kenneth Kaunda's head was grazed by a bullet. The former president said he had been the target of an attempt on his life.

The shooting of Wezi, the most politically active of his children, comes as the former president battles to maintain his Zambian nationality. Mr Kaunda, who was in power until 1991 and whose parents were Malawian-born, believes he is being targeted by the government of President Frederick Chiluba, in order to prevent him from standing in the 2001 presidential elections.

Since 1991, when President Chiluba beat him in a landslide election victory, Mr Kaunda has been accused of coup plotting, has been in jail, under house arrest, stripped of his nationality, in financial straits and on hunger strike. But, after proclaiming tearfully last year that he was quitting politics, Mr Kaunda returned to the helm of Unip in January.

To many, the worst thing Mr Kaunda ever did was to set the much-heralded example for Africa of voluntarily relinquishing power to an opponent after elections. Last week the South African leader, Thabo Mbeki, visited Zambia, his former home in exile. While supporting President Chiluba's ruling Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD), he elicited from President Chiluba a pledge that he would not stand for a constitution-busting third term in 2001.

Mr Kaunda is a lot more popular now among ordinary Zambians than President Chiluba, but only on the basis of a sentimental longing for his 27 years of gentle Christian humanism.

Moyce Kaukung'ombe, an opposition spokesman, said yesterday, in reference to the killing of Mr Kaunda's son: "We suspect this is a political incident." But a police spokesman, Richard Mwanza, merely described Wezi's assailants as "a gang of heavily armed suspected bandits".

Wezi's wife, Didi, was not injured in the shooting. Four gunmen were reportedly spotted on the scene and there were indications last night that one suspect had been arrested.

The former president, who was in South Africa when the shooting happened, and flew back yesterday, lost another son, Masuzyo, to an Aids- related illness in 1986.

FALL OF A DYNASTY

December 1986: Kenneth Kaunda's son Masuzyo, dies from Aids, "in his 30s". Another reportedly on murder charge.

1991: Kaunda leaves power after gaining 24 per cent of the vote in elections.

August 1997: Kaunda grazed by bullet at rally.

He says it is attempted murder.

October 1997: Attempted coup. Kaunda accused of plotting.

Christmas Day 1997: Kaunda arrested.

January 1998: Goes on hunger strike; released.

March 1998: Kaunda stripped of his Zambian nationality. A court battle begins. Constitution amended to exclude from political office anyone who is the child of foreigners.

July 1998: Kaunda said to owe lawyers more than $600,000, visits, UK, Libya and South Africa.

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsenal signing Calum Chambers
sportGunners complete £16m transfer of Southampton youngster
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Junior / Graduate Application Support Engineer

£26000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful international media organ...

QA Manager - North Manchester - Nuclear & MOD - £40k+

£35000 - £41000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: QA Manager -...

Property Finance Partner

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: LONDON - BANKING / PROPERTY FINANCE - ...

Agile Tester

£28000 - £30000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: An ambitious...

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on