Openly homophobic journalist Jon Qwelane, who is facing charges in the equality court for writing an anti-gay column in 2008, is reportedly being considered as South Africa’s next ambassador to Uganda.
According to the Sunday Times, the presidency could announce Qwelane’s appointment within the next month, subject to approval by the Ugandan government.
His possible appointment comes as Uganda is under growing international pressure to withdraw an anti-gay bill from its parliament that would impose the death penalty on those accused of “aggravated” homosexuality.
Disappointingly, while a number of Western countries have spoken out against the bill, the South African government has remained silent on the issue.
Qwelane was a vocal supporter of Jacob Zuma’s successful bid to become president – despite the latter facing numerous fraud charges at the time – insisting that Zuma was the victim of a conspiracy.
Qwelane’s July 2008 article, titled Call me names, but gay is NOT okay…, published by the Sunday Sun, equated homosexuality with bestiality, praised Robert Mugabe’s oppression of gays and lesbians and encouraged the removal of the sexual-orientation equality clause from the constitution.
In a statement issued in December 2008, the South African Human Rights Commission said it believed that “the language used by Mr Qwelane is not consistent with the spirit and values of the constitution, and it’s hurtful at the least” and committed itself to pursuing the matter in the equality court, although little progress has been made in the case since then.