National Democratic Congress (NDC) leader Chishimba Kambwili says he hopes the United States government will not succumb to calls for them to recall Ambassador Daniel Foote because he did nothing wrong.
And Kambwili has charged that government is always unsettled when corruption is mentioned, which is why he is suffering and his businesses have been stifled.
Speaking during a fundraising church service at UCZ St Stephen’s Church building in Choma, Sunday, President Edgar Lungu said he wanted Ambassador Foote gone because Zambians did not need “such people” in their midst.
“Thank you to the church, thank you to UCZ, especially for voicing out against un-Christian values, such as homosexuality. I will leave it at that because I don’t want to get you involved in politics of diplomacy and other things because it is matters, which came from our friends, the Americans. But you need to know that we have complained officially to the American government because we don’t want such people in our midst, we want him gone!” said President Lungu.
But in an interview, Kambwili urged the PF government to get its hands off the American Envoy, saying government must fight corruption and not Ambassador Foote.
“Corruption is stealing from the poor, I thought the President was going to be more candid on the people that are mentioned in corruption as complained by Ambassador Foote; there is absolutely no reason to ask America to recall him and I hope the American government will not do what the Zambian government has asked, they should not succumb,” Kambwili appealed.
“Zambia will never accept gayism unless maybe in another world because Zambia is a Christian nation. It is just like we have accepted that we are a Christian nation, but we allow the Muslims to conduct their business freely. So, if a Muslim doesn’t want to talk about Jesus Christ, is that an offence? So if we are a Christian nation and Muslims are saying Mohammed and not Jesus, is that an offence? You take (it as) that’s their belief, that’s their opinion, but you cannot depend on statute books. So, why worry about what Foote said? Is what he said going to put food on the table for the people of Zambia?”
He insisted Ambassador Foote’s opinion on the Kapiri men who were sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for having a sexual affair did not disrespect Zambian laws.
“I think, in my view, having been Minister of Foreign Affairs, there is absolutely nothing wrong that Foote did that amounts to complaints to his government. The Vienna Convention on the conduct of Ambassadors and High Commissioners is very clear. You see, these people are not supposed to be here and absolutely be quiet. When things are not being done right, they have the right to speak out. There are times that they can call press briefings and talk about what is happening in the country as long as they are not interfering with the internal affairs. Now, when you ask the question, Foote’s opinion: was it directing government or telling government that if you don’t do this, we are not going to give you aid, is that what he said? He was merely complaining that the length of period that the guys have been sentenced to is too harsh. He does recognise the fact that under Zambian law, gayism is an offence, but he was only concerned with the period, 15 years, when corrupt people are not going to prison and when people are stealing public resources, are left scot-free,” he said.
And Kambwili said anyone singing the “corruption song” suffered the same way his businesses had suffered.
“In my view, people have been unsettled by the word corruption. It’s because of him saying that there is corruption in government and a very good example is, look at how I am suffering; I am always in court; my businesses have been killed because I have been singing the corruption song. So, in this government, it’s like when you sing the corruption song, you touch other people’s nerves. So, for me, Ambassador Foote has not done anything wrong for saying his own opinion and he cannot really be attacking people on their opinion,” said Kambwili.