The United States ambassador to Zambia says local government officials have condemned him for saying he was “horrified” by the sentencing of a local gay couple to 15 years in prison.
Ambassador Daniel Foote told reporters Monday he would not be intimidated by officials in the southern African nation, where same-sex relationships are criminalized. It is a legacy of British colonial-era laws, as with several countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
The ambassador’s statement last week said the men’s consensual relationship hurt no one while “meanwhile, government officials can steal millions of public dollars without prosecution.”
Zambia’s foreign affairs minister, Joseph Malanji, says the government is sending a protest letter to Washington over the remarks and accuses the ambassador of meddling in Zambia’s internal affairs.
The minister in a strongly worded statement pointed the ambassador to recent U.S. policy which under Trump is pointing towards anti-same sex legislations after the Obama era took a more liberal approach.
Contents of his response posted by a local news website Mwebantu, read as follows: “I was persuaded to comment because of the current position of the United States on the matter which appear to differ sharply with Ambassador Foote’s stated position.
“But what is happening in the United States about the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Queer summarised in the now famous acronym of LGBTQ?
“It is clear to all observers, that by his actions, by his public statements, by his tweets, by his key appointments and policies, President Donald Trump is pushing pro-family policies, and has taken a strong stance against policies that promoted wanton procuring of abortions.
“It also clear that he wishes to roll-back aggressive pro-LGBTQ policies and federal funding promoted by his predecessor, President Barack Obama. It should be stated that; President Obama hurt us, Obama hurt Africa!” he added.