Foreign Affairs Minister Joe Malanji says he is not aware that the United States government has withdrawn its Ambassador to Zambia Daniel Foote after President Edgar Lungu declared that he does not want the Envoy in the country.
The Zambian government had written a demarche to the American government, expressing concern over Ambassador Foote’s views on the recent jailing of two men of Kapiri Mposhi to 15 years for practicing gay sex.
Ambassador Foote’s comments on the jailing of the two men were however made to contrast with the handling of corruption cases in the courts that have seen perpetrators walk scot free without any punishment.
Last week, local and international media reported that the US State Department was withdrawing Ambassador Foote from Zambia, but that it would not immediately be sending a replacement any time soon to take up his post.
When contacted to understand how the government had received the US government’s sudden withdrawal of Ambassador Foote from Zambia, Malanji said he had not yet received any information on the matter, adding that the Zambian government was still in the process of the bilateral discussions concerning the démarche it had registered against the US Envoy.
“No, no, no, we don’t have any such information. We will get back to you at the right time. We will get back to you when it is time for us to give you any necessary available information. As for now, we are still in the process of the bilateral discussions concerning the démarche that we registered. There is nothing much I can tell you. I know you want to work, you want to write something in your newspaper, but please, that’s all I can tell you,” replied Malanji in a brief interview in Lusaka.