Melanie Nathan- January 31, 2011.
In the face of the brutal murder of David Kato, and the resulting International outcry, including expressions of solidarity from US President Barack Obama and other world leaders, it seems rather odd that the South African government would be noticeably quiet; especially as the SA Constitution supports full gay rights and equality. Perhaps this was because they did not want to embarrass the President of Uganda who happened to be visiting South Africa at the time; or more insidiously, perhaps they did not want to intrude on the homophobic sentiment so often overtly expressed by the South African Ambassador to Uganda – Ambassador Qwelane.
There seems to be a renewed bid asking for the recall of Qwelane. This time President Zuma and the ANC cannot quell the logic.
Back in April 2010 I wrote this in the South African Press-
Melanie Nathan – April 2011, – Shocked Ugandan gay groups, found out that during the visit of South African President Zuma to Uganda, Qwelane, the homophobic diplomat was already in the Uganda, ready to assume duties as South Africa’s high Commissioner, (Ambassador) to the country where a Hate Kill Gays Bill is looming before the legislature.
His appointment not only exacerbates the anti-gay climate but also inhibits the leadership role that South Africa should have assumed in the international human rights advocacy fight against homophobia.
It is understood that interest groups had previously written to International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, requesting that the South African government reconsider Qwelane’s posting. The USA News Blog LEZGETREAL called for a serious stand by President Zuma to withdraw the appointment. All calls have been met with this surreptitious sneak into Uganda.
It is tantamount to adding an extra lion to the den. It seems that diplomatic embarrassment is of no concern to a President who is morally challenged. But the coward snuck in and kept his usually zealous voice quiet for the occasion, not to bring controversy to the already compromised Zuma.
Lest we forget that when Zuma was fielding ugly hard balls during election time and when he was being tried in the Courts for rape Qwelane was supportive.
Uganda’s programs co-ordinator of sexual minorities, Julian Pepe Onziema, told Independent Newspapers in South Africa that they were working on a strategy to challenge Qwelane’s posting.
By Melanie Nathan
Today an article appeared in the SA IOL Press as this position is supported by the opposition party to Zuma in South Africa
“The Democratic Alliance on Monday called on President Jacob Zuma to remove controversial former columnist Jon Qwelane as South Africa’s ambassador to Uganda.
“It is with dismay… that we contemplate the fact that Ambassador Qwelane remains as our emissary to Uganda,” DA international relations spokesman Stevens Mokgalapa said in a statement.
Qwelane had in the past “launched many verbal assaults on gay and lesbian people”, among other things stating publicly that he “would have disowned his own children if they were gay”.
Mokgalapa said that in the light of “recent vicious homophobic attacks” in Uganda, South Africa needed to be able to represent its principles of human rights and respect for all to that country’s government.” http://www.iol.co.za/news/africa/da-calls-for-qwelane-s-removal-1.1019269
A few days ago I wrote an article outlining South Africa’s, “IF KATO WAS BIKO” responsibility to take the lead on this very serious Human Rights issue being played out in Uganda in the form of a pending legislation in the Ugandan Parliament known as the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, authored by Ugandan MP David Bahati.
” The Ugandan President says his National Resistancer Movement government will continue providing ample security to the South Africa’s enterprises to continue the key role they play in the economy of Uganda. But how can the Ugandan Government guarantee the security of gay and lesbian South Africans doing business or working in Uganda when they are criminalized and subjected to arrest?
The act of homosexual sex is considered a crime in Uganda; and A Bill will be read in Parliament that outlaws homosexuality as criminal requiring stiff sentences and sometimes death.
South African Companies are bound by the South African Constitution which guarantees South Africa’s gays, lesbians and transgender people one hundred percent equality under the SA constitution. The question crops up – how will South Africa react to the clear criminalization of homosexuality should the Ugandan Parliament pass its anti-homosexuality legislation and what do they plan to remark as it looms for enactment? read more http://lezgetreal.com/2011/01/divesting-uganda-what-would-mandela-do-if-kat o-was-ugandas-biko/”