Zambia has expressed disappointment over the omission of the country’s First Republican President and freedom fighter Dr. Kenneth Kaunda on the list of prominent African personalities honoured by the African Union (AU).
Foreign Affairs Minister Given Lubinda says Dr. Kaunda is an African statesman who deserves honours from the Pan African organisation for the critical role he played in the struggle and liberation of the African continent.
Mr. Lubinda told ZANIS in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia today that Zambia has since contested the issue at the on-going summit.
He said Zambians will not sit back and see history being buried because the history of the liberation struggle of the continent cannot be complete without the inclusion of Zambia and Dr. Kaunda in particular.
“This is a serious omission. Many Zambians will not take kindly to this,” Mr. Lubinda said.
Mr. Lubinda said he was, however, pleased that the contention has received active attention from the moment it was advanced at the AU meeting.
He said the AU Commission Chairperson Dr. Jean Ping has since assured him that the first five prominent people who have so far been honoured by the organisation were not the last.
The Zambian Foreign Minister said the country has requested the AU to come up with proper criteria which will guide member states on the people to be considered for honours.
“We have told them to ensure that a criterion is put in place so that countries can submit their nationals for consideration,” he said.
So far the new AU complex building has been decorated with the portraits of Nelson Mandela, late Congo DR Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba, and Former President of Egypt Agdel Nasser and Emperor Haile Selaise of Ethiopia.
A statue of Ghana’s First President Osagefu Nkwame Nkuruma has also been mounted in the front of the multi-million dollar Chinese built AU headquarters.