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Last Updated: Monday, 26 September 2005, 14:28 GMT 15:28 UK
Losing power: Kenneth Kaunda
All this week, the BBC is talking to people who once held a position of global influence but have since lost it, giving them the chance to reflect on their feelings as their world collapsed. Here, Zambia's founding president Kenneth Kaunda.

Kenneth Kaunda was the first president of Zambia, ruling between 1964 and 1991. He left office after the return of multi-party elections, which his United National Independence Party lost to Frederick Chiluba's Movement for Multiparty Democracy.

Whoever is in a position like I was is a servant of the people and it is important that he or she understands that and accepts that. I'm not their boss.

To declare me stateless after what I had tried to do for my beloved country was terrible
Kenneth Kaunda

And your behaviour must be the same, genuinely merited. That's how I feel about it, in my way.

I don't think I was ever thinking, I'm now at my highest point in this great post. I saw it as a service post, and therefore every subject that came before me I saw it that way.

These were great moments, they were very inspiring.

Some people believe that there was need for change. People began to think we should go back to multi-party democracy.

I didn't object to that - I said yes.

I had three years to go to the end of my term, but I cut that short.

We held elections. I lost.

When the results came out, I telephoned the man who was leading the opposition.

I said: "Well, congratulations, you have won."

I said to him: "Mr President-elect, the people of Zambia have given you an extremely difficult job. I stand ready to assist you if you should need my services. For the time being, God bless and goodbye." And I left.

Son assassinated

I had no house in Lusaka. I had to go to ask a mining company, which had a house for their guests in Lusaka, if I could stay there.

After 10 days, my new president said: "Get out of that house."

Frederick Chiluba
Kaunda lost power after Frederick Chiluba's election win
He knew I had no house, but he said get out. When they said that I could not live in that Luanshya mining house, I knew then that there was going to be real trouble.

When they were holding elections, they changed the constitution. They said no-one whose parents came from outside would be allowed to hold a post in government at all - which meant they were barring me from participating in active politics in Zambia.

To declare me stateless after what I had tried to do for my beloved country was terrible.

At one time I was sentenced to prison for six months by Mr Chiluba's government. I think that arrest was my lowest point.


I got out. They failed to find whatever they wanted and released me. So that's some of the things I suffered.

I can't forget - how can I forget?

The way my beloved son, number three in family, was assassinated by those who thought he would be taking over from me. They feared that so they assassinated him.

It was a terrible moment, it will be for the rest of my life. The shock still remains today.

It did cost my son his life. For a son like that to be taken away, it's something that shakes one's being to the full.


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