Editor's Comment

Foote oversteps boundary


ZAMBIA, like any other country, is a sovereign state which is capable of handling its own matters in conformity with its Constitution and other laws that guide it as a nation.
That is why when it comes to handling matters in courts of law, judges or magistrates follow the law in pursuit of justice and equity for Zambians.
Where a convicted person feels unfairly treated, they have recourse to the law by seeking an appeal to a higher court where their case can be heard and determined accordingly.
It is in this view that we find the comments by United States of America Ambassador to Zambia Daniel Foote on the jailing of the two gays a matter of grave concern.
Last week, two Kapiri Mposhi men were sentenced to 15 years imprisonment by the magistrate’s court for having sex against the order of nature.
Mr Foote ought to understand that Zambia has its own set of values, traditions and cultures, which should be respected. Zambia will not be dictated to by those that wish to impose their abominable values under the guise of human rights.
It must be made clear – and abundantly so – that same-sex relationships are illegal in Zambia. That does not mean the country is backward. No, sir. Zambia does not believe that man should marry man or woman should marry woman, all in the name of human rights.
If Mr Foote has no problem with such repulsive unnatural acts, it is fine but we find it strange that he is attempting to impose such on Zambia.
There is a lot Mr Foote can say or do for Zambia without baiting the country into homosexuality.
The sentencing of Japhet Chata, 28, and his partner, Steven Samba, does not, by any strand of imagination, suggest the country has archaic laws. Rather it is a confirmation that such gibberish is intolerable in the country today and in future.
Therefore, Mr Foote to urging Government to reconsider its laws on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, is really a loss of an opportunity to talk about matters that genuinely affect the country.
He claimed that decisions like the jailing of the two men do untold damage to Zambia’s international reputation by demonstrating that human rights in Zambia is not a universal guarantee.
In any case, while Mr Foote has the right to make a comment on the matter, there are laid down procedures that a man of his status should follow, according to diplomatic etiquette.
It is unfortunate that Mr Foote should find the etiquette way a longer route to follow and opt for the shorter one, thereby deliberately circumventing the diplomatic channel.
As much as we exercise freedom of speech in Zambia, we feel he outstepped his right to make the comments outside the designated channel.
We know that our representatives abroad, even those in the US, have endeavoured to follow the right channels to express their views because they respect the laws of the land wherever they serve.
Zambia is guided by laws and among those is not having sex against the order of nature but Mr Foote seems to be oblivious to this fact.
His comments insinuating the backwardness of some laws, like in this case, offensively fly straight in the face of diplomacy, which demands that countries respect each other’s sovereignty.
There are also instances that we can point out in the US, for example, the jailing of some personalities, some of whom committed offences, allegedly, more than 40 years back.
In some cases, some of those who have been jailed have complained that they are being sent to prison because of their colour but our representatives there have treated such decisions with respect because they are aware of the demands of diplomatic etiquette.
There are numerous examples we could give but we respect America’s sovereignty and would rather stay in our lane.
Furthermore, Mr Foote’s comments do not differentiate between the Judiciary and the Executive, which have different roles as arms of Government.
We advise him to leave alone matters that relate to the Judiciary without bringing in the Executive arm of Government, which has nothing to do with this case.
As much as Zambia is a Christian country, it also has a Constitution that recognises human rights but that does not mean Zambia should please anyone who condones acts like homosexuality or those that go against the order of nature.
In fact, being a Christian nation means that acts that are unBiblical should not be condoned in any way, in line with Romans 1:26 and other verses spread throughout the scriptures.
Zambia has a value system and we do not need anyone from elsewhere to dictate practices which go against our traditional beliefs and cherished values.
Zambia has benefited a lot from the US and it is better the relations are maintained at a level where they can prosper while respect for each other’s sovereignty as members in this global world is.

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