Church of Scotland receives visit from former Zambian president

By agency reporter
June 11, 2009

The former President of Zambia, Kenneth David Kaunda, will be discussing his work in tackling HIV/Aids and poverty in a visit to the Church of Scotland today - Friday 12 June 2009.

Dr Kaunda, the son of Church of Scotland missionary the Rev David Kaunda, led Zambia to independence and served as the first President of the Republic of Zambia, from 1964 to 1991.

In 1992 he set up the Kenneth Kaunda Peace Foundation, an organization dedicated to the establishment of peace and conflict resolution on the continent. He now focuses on fighting HIV/Aids and poverty in Africa.

The death of a son from HIV/Aids during the initial outbreak in Africa was the driving force behind Dr Kaunda’s efforts. He vowed never to allow other African children experience such a painful and helpless death.

This struggle has taken him to various countries, both within and outside Africa, with a mission to assuage the pains of victims, sensitise the public and alleviate poverty.

During his visit, Dr Kaunda will meet with representatives from the Kirk’s World Mission Council and HIV/Aids Project. His host will be the Very Rev David Lunan, former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

Dr Kaunda is the second high profile visitor to address the Church of Scotland this year, following Bishop Desmond Tutu who spoke at last month's General Assembly.

The former Zambian president, whose achievements have been widely lauded, but who was accused of being overbearing in his latter days in power, has a number of other church friends in Britain.

These include the prominent Methodist Colin Morris, who as a missionary on the Copperbelt in what was Northern Rhodesia, campaigned against injustice and for an end to colonial rule in the country.

Dr Morris subsequently became minister of Wesley's chapel in London, head of what was then the Methodist Missionary Society, president of the Methodist Conference in Britain, and a distinguished religious broadcaster and commentator.

One noted biography of Dr Kaunda has been written by the late Scottish mission leader, the Rev Dr Fergus Macpherson, who also knew him well.

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