We don’t talk about him much yet he served Zambia very well.
I first met Major Wezi Kaunda in 1988 when he was Zambia’s Home Affairs Minister of State. I liked him immediately as we chatted in his office which was then at the Secretariat. We had been working on something which his father, President Kenneth Kaunda would get involved at some point. In later years we met and talked on the phone quite a bit.
Major Wezi’s military background inculcated tremendous discipline and respect for people and in everything he did.
I noted that everytime he mentioned his father’s name, he was very official about it. “I think His Excellency would like that” or “I will consult the President and get back to you”, he would say. I had worked with him helping out in the South Luangwa National Park where Colgate-Palmolive had financed projects in wildlife conservation in the area.
The most politically active son of Dr Kaunda and his wife, Betty, I had this gut feeling that this third-born son was destined to be a leader in Zambia in some important capacity in the future. I often thought of him as a Sanjay or Rajiv Gandhi.
He had campaigned and won the Malambo parliamentary seat and was appointed Minister of State in 1988. Sadly, he was assassinated at the young age of 47 years in November 1999. Yes, I believe it was an assassination. A few years ago, I stood by his father’s side, together with his sister Cheswa and brother Kaweche, as we visited and paid our respects at his graveside at Old Leopards Hill Cemetary.
Just over a couple of weeks ago, his daughter who was very little when her father was killed, got married overseas and I was privileged and honored when requested to play a minor role for the wedding by rekindling memories of the greateness of the bride’s father whom she really didn’t get to know. I am told it was a pleasant surprise for her. I will post wedding photos separately.
Major Wezi was a keen sportsman. He had played football for the top military side at the time, Green Buffaloes Football Club and loved the game of squash. I played two fundraising football matches against him and believe me, the man was fit.
A wonderful human being. An Officer and a Gentleman who served his country extremely well. A hero.