A media personality who has been accused of homophobia will reportedly be appointed South Africa’s ambassador to Uganda next month.
Jon Qwelane, a writer for the Sunday Sun, has used his column to espouse his views on homosexuality. He has attacked gay marriage and said he would disown his children if any were to come out as gay.
He has also praised Robert Mugabe for his “unflinching and unapologetic” views on homosexuality. The Zimbabwe president described gays and lesbians as “sub-animal”.
Opposition party Democratic Alliance called Qwelane an “admitted homophobe” and said his appointment could be seen as a “tacit endorsement” of Uganda’s current stance on homosexuality.
Uganda’s parliament is currently considering a bill which would execute or imprison gays. The bill is expected to receive strong support when it is debated this spring.
Gay groups in South Africa have also reacted angrily to Qwelane’s reported appointment with SA GLAAD calling him a “disgraced” homophobe.
Christina Engela, of SA GLAAD, told PinkNews.co.uk: “This is a resounding slap in the face to the pink community in South Africa and coupled with the government’s failure to condemn the Ugandan genocide bill, it gives tacit approval to Ugandan human rights violations – and raises valid concerns about the future of gay rights in this country also.”
The South African press has reported that President Jacob Zuma will announce Qwelane’s appointment next month. Qwelane supported Zuma when he was accused of corruption.
The Sunday Times said that the International Relations department was waiting for Uganda to approve the choice.