The United States of America Ambassador to Zambia Daniel Foote has cancelled scheduled appearances at World Aids Day events on Tuesday because of threats made against him on social media.
This follows outrage sparked by his comments when he criticised Zambia’s judiciary for sentencing two gay men, Japhet Chataba and Steven Samba, to 15 years in prison. Following the backlash, Foote said:
I was shocked at the venom and hate directed at me and my country, largely in the name of ‘Christian’ values, by a small minority of Zambians.
It is up to Zambian citizens and the courts to decide if your laws correspond to your constitution, but your constitution itself provides every person with the right to freedom and expression of conscience and belief.
Zambia considers itself a Christian nation and gay relationships are still outlawed in the country.
On Monday, Zambian President Edgar Lungu chided Foote for interfering in the country’s domestic affairs, saying his government will complain to the US administration.