Addressing the Kenneth Kaunda Tribute Webinar on Monday, the minister described the founding president of Zambia as a great leader who fought for the defence of peace, independence and security in Africa.
“In international platforms, Dr. Kaunda always expressed his determination to fight for the freedom of all oppressed African nations and all other nations of the world,” Mthethwa said.
He noted that although Kaunda’s philosophy was a non-violent one, “he at the same time supported those who chose armed resistance as a legitimate pillar of struggle.”
“Under his leadership, the people of Zambia opened their country to those who were fleeing oppression and hosted leaders of liberation movements. This came at enormous cost because of their difficult geographical situation,” Mthethwa said.
He commended Kaunda for the role he played in South Africa’s freedom and independence.
“South Africa, like many of the then frontline states, owes her freedom and independence to this gallant statesman: a jovial man, a creative worker, a sportsman and, above all, a true and sincere African liberator,” he said.
“The well-regarded legacies of Zambia, which is not commonly known or spoken about, is that Zambia has also been the country of residence for more future presidents of African countries than have been produced by any other country in Africa,” the minister said.
These include the late Presidents Milton Obote of Uganda and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, all the three presidents of Namibia, former South African Presidents Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma, and Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe.
The following second in command of the State are the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo of Zimbabwe and Deputy President Baleka Mbete of South Africa, Mthethwa said.
He added: “Kaunda made it abundantly clear that Zambia’s support and participation in the liberation struggle, was not based on a desire to make social, economic and political investments.
Kaunda passed away on 17 June at the age of 97.