- A Botswana appeal court today decided the government could go ahead with the deportation of Kenneth Good, an Australian political science Professor lecturing at the University of Botswana since 1990. Professor Good had received a presidential deportation order after criticising the government's democracy record, causing outrage among human rights activists.
Judge Stanley Sapire of Botswana's Lobatse High Court today announced the sentence in the controversial case between the state and Professor Good. The critical academic's appeal against his deportation order was turned down and Judge Sapire deprived the Australian of any further right to appeal.
According to the judge's final statement, "the applicants' lawyers failed to convince the court that the presidential deportation order served on Good on 18 February was unjustified." The lawyers had focused on technicalities to nullify the deportation order issued by President Festus Mogae in person.
Shortly after receiving the sentence, the 72-year-old Professor was given an immediate expulsion order. While the Batswana government had planned to put Mr Good on the next flight "home" to Australia, his lawyers today told the Australian press he was headed for Johannesburg, South Africa.
The Professor himself told journalists outside the court that his deportation symbolised "the death of democracy" in Botswana. His deportation order had been the result of his many critical statements regarding human rights and the state of democracy in Botswana - a country whose official are delighted to claim is Africa's most deeply rooted democracy.
Professor Good had in particular raised two issues where this propagated democracy image of Botswana was starting to fall apart; the presidential succession election of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), which has ruled since independence in 1996; and the Tswana population majority's inhumane treatment of the San ("Bushmen") indigenous people.
The Professor had been a strong critic of the government's policy of forcibly relocating San hunting and gathering communities from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, a policy he called "repressive". The forced relocation of these San communities has caused a strong negative focus on Botswana in international media and the government has vigorously monitored any voices criticising its policies towards the San.
Mr Good however refused to be silenced. In a recent paper, he said that "removal, relocation, and dispossession have been [the San's] repeated experiences. The subordination of the San was carried through by the rising Tswana ruling elite, and the weakness of democracy subsequently ... has facilitated its continuance. Botswana's democracy will remain dysfunctional as long as their poverty endures."
The government of President Mogae however was even more angered as the political science Professor co-authored a study on the succession of Botswana's presidents. In the paper 'Succession in Botswana: No Model for Africa', Mr Good criticised the way presidents in the country are appointed by their predecessor rather than directly elected, given the BDP's total dominance in politics during the last four decades.
Immediately after this paper was known, Professor Good received a deportation order signed by President Mogae himself. Ditshwanelo, Botswana's leading human rights groups, and regional freedom of expression organisation agree with the Professor's claim that the deportation order was a reaction to his critical paper and an attempt to silence him.
The Batswana presidency has strongly rejected this, saying it could not take the results of Professor Good's study seriously. While no concrete explanation has been given for his deportation, President Mogae however has labelled the Professor "a threat to national security."
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.