by Stefano Gennarini, C-Fam
A war of words has broken out between the US Ambassador to Zambia Daniel Foote and the government of Zambia over that conservative country’s laws on homosexual behavior. The US Ambassador has even threatened to withhold financial aid to this AIDS ravaged African country.
“I saw this giant headline — gay sex for fifteen years — as the government pounding its chest saying ‘we don’t allow this’ and intimidating the ten percent of your population that was born homosexual,” Foote said while grinning and motioning his arms like a gorilla beating his chest. He was commenting on the recent conviction of two men for engaging in homosexual acts and the media coverage in Zambia’s official newspapers.
Foote called the conviction of the two men “horrifying” and “oppressive” in a press statement on November 29th. Zambian President Edgar Lungu pushed back. “If there are such countries which will allow bestiality, let them do it but not here,” he said.
Zambia’s foreign minister, Joseph Malanji, said he would file a formal complaint with the US State Department. Malanji accused Foote of acting in his personal capacity, without direction from US President Donald J. Trump. He described Trump’s domestic and foreign policy as pro-family.
Foote’s responded to the accusation that he was acting in his own capacity without authorization by asserting his own authority during the press conference. He included the topic of homosexuality in a broader set of US involvements with Zambia.
© 2019 Center for Family & Human Rights