How things went bad for Good

An Australian academic who was deported from Botswana this week—apparently for his criticism of the government—has said the incident “seems to have vindicated our arguments” about the state of democracy in the country.

Professor Kenneth Good also believes the government is unhappy about his criticism of the “removal of Bushman” communities from areas earmarked for diamond mining.

He was declared an illegal immigrant in February, when two officials visited him and told him “we have a message from his excellency”. Botswana’s Immigration Act allows the president to declare a foreign citizen a threat to state security and order deportation without having to furnish reasons.

Legal moves to stop the deportation came to an end on Tuesday, when the Botswana High Court ruled that the order was legal.
Speaking from Pretoria on Wednesday, Good told the Mail & Guardian, how immediately after the judgement, police had bundled him into a car: “We shot all over southern Botswana trying to shake off the lawyers and the [Australian] High Commissioner.”

After being held for an hour at an office of the International Police Enforcement Agency—a body that Good said he had never heard of before—he was put into the back of a police van and “bounced around for an hour because there was no room for me to sit up”.

He was then held in a police cell in the town of Ramotswa for an hour, before being driven to his home in Gaborone where “I was allowed to put a few pairs of underpants and socks into a bag” before being escorted to the airport for the 7pm flight to Johannesburg.

Good said he was unable to say goodbye to his 17-year-old daughter, who is at school in Botswana and who is now staying with friends. “I am trying to work out my plans, and am meeting with lawyers,” said Good, who had taught political studies at the University of Botswana for more than 15 years. He feels his best hope would be an appeal to the African Court on Human and People’s Rights.