Jon Qwelane

In light of the murder of LGBT activists David Kato in Uganda, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has called on President Jacob Zuma to recall homophobic South African ambassador Jon Qwelane.

“It was disappointing that the Zuma administration appointed Mr Qwelane in the first place,” said DA international relations spokesman Stevens Mokgalapa on Monday in a statement.

“However, it should now realise that, in order to prosecute for rights for all and especially to do so in a hostile environment where lives are at stake, Mr Qwelane is entirely inappropriate.

“I shall be writing to President Zuma today petitioning for Mr Qwelane’s recall,” Mokgalapa said.

Zuma’s inappropriate and insensitive decision in January 2010 to appoint Qwelane as high commissioner to Uganda in the midst of growing social and political anti-gay sentiment in that country was greeted with outrage by human rights groups.

Qwelane was accused of hate speech by the Human Rights Commission in connection with his 2008 article, published in the Sunday Sun, in which he compared homosexuality to bestiality and urged politicians to remove the sexual orientation equality clause from the Constitution.

Qwelane has refused to apologise or admit to any wrong-doing and it is believed that if he returns to South Africa he could face charges in the Equality Court related to the article.

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