Former President Kenneth Kaunda and wife Betty had nine children namely, Panji, Waza, Wezi, Tilyenji, Masuzyo, Kaweche, Musata, Cheswa and Kambarage. Of these Masuzyo, Wezi and Kambarage have since passed on.

Masuzyo died in 1986 and his death was felt countrywide when his father openly announced that he had died from AIDS. AIDS was a deadly new still to be understood killer disease and a lot of people had some sort of stigma against sufferers of this disease. To hear that it had claimed a life of someone from the first family was indeed shocking. Dr Kaunda handled the matter professionally and used the death of his son to sensitize others on this new killer disease.

Major Wezi Kaunda was assassinated in the presence of his wife and children at his Kabulonga home in 1999. He was an apparent heir to Dr Kaunda and had taken over as UNIP President. His killing was a big blow to the former President.

Kambarage Kaunda Kaunda was born in 1964 from a set of twins, with Cheswa as his twin sister. Kambarage had caused a stare and a big headache to his father in 1989 when he shot dead a 20 year young lady, Tabeth Mwanza to death in Chelston area in an apparent stance of self defence as claimed by him after he was surrounded by an unruly crowd. He was sentenced to death by the ruling judge Claver Musumali in 1991. At that time Dr Kaunda was facing challenge to his position in the upcoming election and constitutionally did not have enough time to use his powers to pardon his son. However the Supreme Court ruled in favour of Kambarage in 1992 that he shot in self defence and as such had no case to answer. Kambarage died in January 2022 in Mozambique after complaining of a malaria attack.

Panji Kaunda is the first born child and current High Commissioner to Malawi under the UPND government. Kaweche will be remembered for being by his father side in his last days. Waza is a medical Doctor. Tilyenji is a local businessman and once took over as UNIP’s president after his brother, Wezi, was assassinated. Musata is a housewife and is married to late former President Rupiah Banda’s son, James.



Standing: Far left, Masuzyo; standing Far right, Tilyenji.
Seated from left: Kaweche, Madam Betty Kaunda, Cheswa, President Kaunda, Kambarage and then Musata.
The first three elderly children, Panji, Waza and Wezi are not in the picture as they were pursuing higher education classes at the time.

CREDIT: Zambian History in Pictures


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