Zambia has pushed back on US Ambassador Daniel Foote saying he "crossed a line" for criticizing the country's harsh colonial-era sodomy laws.
The laws are meant to punish homosexual people. Zambia’s home affairs minister on Tuesday explained that they had asked the United States to withdraw its ambassador for criticizing the jailing of a gay couple for 15 years based on the sodomy laws.
Ambassador Daniel Foote said he was “personally horrified" by the jailing of the couple, adding, “meanwhile, government officials can steal millions of public dollars without prosecution, political cadres can beat innocent citizens … with no consequences, poachers can kill numerous elephants… and face a maximum of only five years.”
Zambia's president, Edgar Lungu, said publicly that he had complained to US President Donald Trump over Foote’s comments. Foote has been recalled due to the debacle—a source on Monday told Reuters that the ambassador had been recalled because it was difficult for him to work in Zambia if his hosts did not want him.
Home Affairs Stephen Kampyongo said on Hot FM radio, "The dos and don’ts for those who represent nations in other nations are very clear. So if one crosses the line, it’s not about bilateral relations between the two countries. They (Washington) listened to the complaint."