WASHINGTON has recalled its Ambassador to Zambia Daniel Foote after President Edgar Lungu declared his position not tenable.
Sources at the US embassy in Lusaka confirmed the development.
The source indicated that yesterday Ambassador Foote held a meeting with embassy staff and told them he was leaving Zambia.
“It’s not an expulsion per se. What it means is that President Trump has said I can’t be assured of your security anymore…because President Lungu is saying he doesn’t want to work with Foote, it means, Foote, what will he be doing here? So Washington is saying if he will not be doing anything here, let’s have him come back home,” explained the source. “It’s recalling him, not expelling him because the Zambian government can no longer assure him of any security or any protocol befitting an Ambassador. He can stay but as what?”
Ambassador Foote’s comparison of a 15-year sentence slapped on two Kapiri men found guilty of committing homosexuality and how corruption accused members of President Edgar Lungu’s government were treated precipitated the bad blood.
The government complained that Ambassador Foote had overstepped his boundary.
At a church event recently in Choma, President Lungu said his government had requested the US government to recall Ambassador Foote and were waiting for a response.
The Head of State said Ambassador Foote’s position in the country had become untenable.
Washington responded by saying it regarded the statement as a declaration of Ambassador Foote persona non grata but called for mutual respect relative to the aid the US government gives Zambia.