A Demarché is the raising of a matter with the sending country of a diplomatic official, often accompanied by a specific request for some type of action or decision in connection the conduct or misconduct.
Ambassador Foote yesterday issued a strong worded statement expressing shock at the Zambian court’s jailing of two men of Kapiri Mposhi for practicing homosexuality.
He stated that he was surprised that this is happening when government officials steal millions of dollars without prosecution while party cadres were beating up innocent people without consequences.
Malanji, at a briefing today, said he called Ambassador Foote over the statement and he stood his grounds and refused to withdraw it.
“I wish to state categorically that in Zambia, we subscribe to and maintain the independence of the Judiciary as the fundamental tenet of our democracy. The Judiciary is the guardian of the Constitution and has the responsibility to interpret and safeguard it without any undue interference. To question its decision by a representative of a foreign government is tantamount to questioning the Zambian constitution on which the Judiciary makes rulings. This is unacceptable, especially on matters of an internal nature like this,” Malanji said. “The decisions by the Judiciary are made on the basis of the laws of Zambia and not of another country. Consequently, it is the Zambian people who should decide appropriately and through the established practices and processes to change the laws. The government of the Republic of Zambia takes great exception to the remarks made by the ambassador on the decision by the High Court as well as his comparison of the homosexuality case to other cases of alleged theft by government officials, political violence and poaching. The ambassador may wish to note that all cases that are brought before the courts of law are adjudicated based on the available of evidence. It is extremely unfair and highly misleading to suggest that such cases are never brought before the courts of law. Zambia remains a signatory to major international and regional treaties protecting human rights and has several well established institutions to promote and protect human rights.”
He said regarding the position of Zambia as a Christian nation in view of the court’s decision in this matter of homosexuality, the Ambassador may wish to confine himself to matters that are within his competence.
“May I take this opportunity to remind the US Ambassador and indeed any other envoys accredited to the Republic of Zambia that they have always been granted audience by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and they have always been granted audience by the President of the Republic of Zambia, it is therefore expected that any sentiments on national issues are presented to the government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. All envoys accredited to the Republic of Zambia are encouraged to follow the well established procedure and channels of communication to avoid unnecessary acrimony of tainting the existing relations among our countries,” Malanji said. “But yesterday when I phoned Ambassador Foote, the first response was ‘why are you not talking about China which has kept thousands of people in prison without trial?’ This is not Beijing and China is just one of our cooperating partners, we’ve given a clear platform to all missions accredited to Zambia like I have indicated and I think our being a developing nation, we attach great importance to our relationships with cooperating partners but what we should understand, all of us, is that Zambia has got cultures which must be followed by any person who is in Zambia whether citizen or through any other accreditation because next time, there will be a country which is going to establish sex with dogs as good and it must be brought to Zambia for Zambians to practice that?”
He said the government’s point of contention is the Ambassador’s mode of raising concerns about Zambia.
“… he has a wider platform from where he can express his statements as opposed to the manner in which he did and also, Zambia has got an upright government. Our government is not composed of thieves. There are men and women with families and it is not in order for an ambassador of his level to insinuate that people in government are stealing and being left scot free. Our Judiciary in Zambia has got an autonomous status from the Executive,” he said.
“…If the people that want to practice gayism feel they can enjoy it, if at all it is enjoyable, they must go to countries where it is practiced and then come back. Every time that they want to have it, they must go to those countries where it is practiced…But as for now, not until the Zambian Constitution is changed to accommodate that, the courts will always rule according to the Zambian Constitution.”