Janaury 18, 1.56 pm PST: By Melanie Nathan; As an ex-pat just when I was thinking I would send a letter to South Africa’s President Zuma to ask if would kindly intervene and take a leadership role in assuring the full withdrawal in the Ugandan Hate Legislation, I received word that he has in fact appointed the most homophobic appointee possible to an ambassadorship in Uganda. What is he thinking that this Ambassador would be a good fit because he hates LGBTQI too?
In A press release , South Africa GLAAD Protests the appointment of Jon Qwelane as SA Ambassador to Uganda:
SA GLAAD condemns in the strongest terms possible the appointment of disgraced Sunday Sun journalist Jon Qwelane as South African Ambassador to Uganda.
SA GLAAD believes that Qwelane is in no way suitable for such an appointment because of his record of making homophobic and sexist remarks in his journalism, which in our view disqualifies him.
Uganda is at present a hot-spot for homophobic and transphobic activity on the part of social organizations, churches and the Ugandan government – which is under pressure from the UN and numerous countries to rescind existing laws and to not pass proposed laws which make life impossible for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in Uganda. The proposed law would legalize the death penalty for people, purely based on their sexuality!
We believe that Qwelane, who is still facing charges in the SA Equality Court brought against him by the SA Human Rights Commission for matters arising from an article he wrote in the Sunday Sun in 2008 “Call me names but gay is not ok” would simply make matters worse. This matter has still not yet been resolved and is still outstanding after nearly 2 years.
SA GLAAD believes that this appointment by the President is in extremely bad taste, and a slap in the face to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex South Africans AND Ugandans.
What kind of message does it send to the world and a country like Uganda which is tearing itself apart on the issue of the human rights of GLBTI people when South Africa appoints a blatant unrepentant homophobe, who is still facing charges on hate speech against the pink community – as an ambassador to another country? It says, “We support you, Uganda – and your policies of discrimination!”
How can Jacob Zuma or the ANC in all good conscience appoint such a person – who is known for his hatred of gay people – to the post of Ambassador in a country which is boiling over with homophobic intimidation and violence and is currently STILL being slated for both existing and proposed draconian laws that rob GLBTIQ people of their equality and human rights – and even their lives?
SA GLAAD once again calls on Mr Zuma and the South African government to reconsider and to denounce and condemn beyond any doubt the Ugandan Genocide Bill currently being debated by the Ugandan Parliament, to sign the UN Declaration to Decriminalize Homosexuality it refused to sign in December 2008 on the grounds of “having principles”, and to NOT appoint a homophobic person to the post of SA Ambassador to Uganda.
In addition I wonder if Zuma realizes that the Americans are watching this one with huge interest and are condemning the legislation introduced by the Ugandans. Not only is the UN Chief Pillay asking for the withdrawal of the legislation, but Gay rights activists are calling for boycotts and sanctions against Uganda unless the Bill is withdrawn.
Secretary of State Hilary Clinton succeeded in getting the death sentence withdrawn from the Bill, but now we here in the USA expect the Obama Administration to respond vigorously and effectively.
We at Lez Get Real, fully support the work of SA GLAAD and urge them to continue their efforts to enlighten the South African public. http://wp.me/pqRPa-Bj
By Melanie Nathan, Reporting from California. email@example.com