29 July 2005

Australian Professor Kenneth Good, who was deported from Botswana last month as a 'threat to national security,' over his criticism of Botswana's democracy and his correspondence with Survival, lost his appeal in the Botswana courts on July 27.

Professor Good, who has taught political science at the University of Botswana for fifteen years, was deported from the country on 31 May, and is now in London. He had written and spoken against the evictions of Bushmen from their ancestral homes in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve

In a recent statement Good said, 'My deportation is another sign that the government of Botswana is heading in an increasingly autocratic direction. It is a defeat for democracy and free speech.'

Botswana's President Mogae said on BBC TV's Newsnight programme on Monday, '[Professor Good] is a rogue and a vagabond, he's not a gentleman`. I am determined to keep him out of this country.'





17 June 2005

Botswana's President Mogae has said that he decided to deport Australian Professor Ken Good as a 'threat to national security' over his links with Survival International.

President Mogae described the international concern over the Professor's deportation as a 'big hullabaloo over the deportation of a single, solitary white man'.

The President has falsely alleged that Good and Survival's Director Stephen Corry have 'written numerous documents in which they described Botswana's diamonds as blood diamonds.'

Professor Good, who had worked at Botswana University for fifteen years before his deportation, had both his computers stolen in separate incidents within ten days of each other.

The Botswana newspaper Mmegi reported this week that Mr Mogae ended a recent press conference by 'volunteering information on a question nobody had asked, [and] denying that his operatives might have broken into Good's house and stolen his computer.'

In a statement today Professor Good said, 'I have never described Botswana's diamonds as 'blood diamonds', nor have I ever 'teamed up' with Survival International to sabotage Botswana's 'diamonds for development' campaign. I have certainly exchanged correspondence with Survival, as I have with a huge number of academics, journalists, and other NGOs. The only way Mr Mogae would know of my email correspondence is if the government had seen the contents of my computers.'


For more information contact Miriam Ross on (+44) (0)20 7687 8734 or email




May 31, 2005

A professor who has been a fierce critic of the lack of democracy in Botswana is to be deported. Professor Ken Good lost his appeal against deportation earlier today, and was taken from the court by plain-clothes police.

Professor Good, an Australian who has taught political science at Botswana University for 15 years, criticized the way Presidents in Botswana are appointed by their predecessor rather than directly elected in a paper earlier this year.

Shortly before he was due to present the paper, President Mogae issued a deportation order. Good appealed, but today learnt that he had lost his appeal. The government has labeled the professor ‘a threat to national security', but has never justified this statement.

Professor Good has also been a strong critic of the government's policy of forcibly relocating Bushmen from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, a policy he called ‘repressive'. In a recent paper he said, ‘Removal, relocation, and dispossession have been their [the Bushmen's] repeated experiences...

‘The subordination of the San [Bushmen] was carried though 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.'


For more information contact

Jo Woodman on 020 7687 8732 or email


Update: 25.02.2005

Court Defers Ruling in Deportation Case

Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)

February 25, 2005
Posted to the web February 25, 2005

Maureen Odubeng

Professor Kenneth Good's well-wishers left the High Court with mixed feelings after Justice Stanley Sapire, deferred judgement on the interdiction he was awarded last Saturday.

The interdiction ordered a stay of execution of the 48-hour deportation order he was served with last Friday till March 7. The ruling to be delivered on Monday by Sapire will determine whether the injunction granted Good by Justice Moatlhodi Marumo is proper. The state maintains that a presidential decree has been served on Good and that it should be effected without further delays. The attorneys representing the state fiercely argued that the court does not have the jurisdiction to challenge a presidential decree. Good's lawyers countered that the court was right in granting the order allowing Good to stay in the country until his case is heard on March 7. The head of Good's legal team Dick Bayford argued that the court should be cognisant of the fact that Good was not served with a presidential decree, but an immigration notice, which stated that he had been declared a prohibited immigrant by the president. Hence there was no means of verification on whether the deportation was indeed a presidential decree, since the decree was not attached. Bayford said that even though the President is not expected to give reasons for deporting an immigrant, logic suggests that Good should have been served with the decree. He said the state should have availed a confirmatory affidavit from the President showing that he received information from a reliable source before issuing the deportation order. Bayford added that the presidential decree was not judicially served. He said failure by the state to annex the presidential decree when serving Good, left room for speculation leading to the conclusion that Good is being deported for openly expressing his critical political views of government. He attempted to strengthen his argument by telling the court that Good has been in the country for 15 years during which he has proven to be a responsible resident who abides by the laws of the country. He asked why the government has suddenly decided to deport Good.

Justice Sapire however caught Bayford off-guard, by asking when Good started his criticism of the country's political system. He sought to know why the government would choose to deport him now, if he has been engaged in criticism of the country's political system for the past 15 years.

Bayford, answered that Good's criticism of the government only intensified in November.

He said that if the court accepts the application of the state to quash the interdiction, it would be infringing on Good's fundamental rights of freedom of speech, having reached a conclusion that he is being deported for his political views.

The Deputy Attorney General Abraham Keetshabe responded by saying that the President had exercised executive powers, which allow him to act on his own without advice from anyone. He said that the court does not have the jurisdiction to challenge the President's decision. He dismissed arguments advanced by Good's lawyers, saying that under the constitution, foreigners are not immune to expulsion from Botswana. He told the court that foreigners who stay in Botswana do so at the pleasure of the country. He stressed that due to lack of information, the court was seriously misled in granting a stay of execution. He told the court to redress and declare the court order null and void, and effect the presidential decree declaring Good a prohibited immigrant. He said it is not in the interest of the court to seek the source of information on presidential decrees.


A Flawed Diamond?

Business Day (Johannesburg)

February 25, 2005 
Posted to the web February 25, 2005 


WHEN President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe deports foreign aid workers who dare question his totalitarian rule, the outside world protests for a while but the clamour soon dies down. Intolerance of dissent is expected of Mad Bob after years of increasingly despotic behaviour.

But when Botswanan President Festus Mogae orders the expulsion of a respected University of Botswana academic for penning a paper that is mildly critical of the ruling party, the reaction from the outside world must be more forceful and prolonged. Mogae is, after all, president of one of Africa's shining lights, the example of economic and political stability that is so often held up for the rest of the continent to marvel at and emulate.

Botswana is soon to celebrate 40 years of democracy since gaining independence from Britain, and Mogae's Botswana Democratic Party has retained power through regular elections from the start. The Oxford-educated president governs a country with the highest per capita income in the region and which is relatively ethnically homogenous and politically stable. He has little reason to feel insecure, so why the high-handed action?

It is not as if political analyst Prof Kenneth Good's criticisms were excessive - far more forthright comment on the South African government's running of the country is published in this newspaper every day, some of it written by academics. Government may get hot under the collar at perceived slights, but it responds through verbal, not physical, assault.

Good was given two days to leave Botswana after co-authoring a paper - intended for delivery at the university this week - titled, Presidential Succession in Botswana: No Model for Africa. 

The paper questioned the way Mogae handpicked Lt-Gen Ian Khama to be his successor, and criticised a number of other perceived antidemocratic tendencies among the ruling party's leadership. But it contained nothing that would raise eyebrows in any but the most autocratic state.

That is why overreacting in this way was such a serious miscalculation on Mogae's part. A spat that would otherwise have fizzled out will now inevitably prompt a thorough inspection of Botswana's recent track record. Has its treatment of the San people really been as fair as it claims? Have the diamond revenues that make up 80% of the country's budget really been distributed for the benefit of all? Perhaps the jewel in Southern Africa's crown is not so flawless after all.


Update: 24.02.2005

Hero's Welcome As Good Delivers Paper

Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)

February 24, 2005
Posted to the web February 24, 2005

Maureen Odubeng

Professor Kenneth Good, University of Botswana's political science lecturer who was declared a prohibited immigrant last Friday, delivered his paper on presidential succession in Botswana to a packed audience yesterday afternoon. Before Good appeared at the University of Botswana lecture hall, there was anxiety whether he would make it after spending the morning at the Lobatse High Court where he is fighting his deporation.

His lawyers successfully applied for his case to be postponed to today. With speculation that he was declared a prohibited immigrant because of the paper he co-authored with fellow academic Dr Ian Taylor, the crowd that turned out for the seminar was so huge that the event had to be moved to a bigger lecture hall. By 2pm it was obvious that the original venue - Room 240/285 - was too small for the crowd attending a lecture meant to start two hours later.

Interestingly, there were a good number of MPs, politicians across the political divide, lecturers and students. When Good walked into the fully packed lecture hall, he was given a hero's welcome, mostly by his students.

The students had definitely reached their conclusion about the reasons behind Good's deportation order - his criticism of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and government. The public has been left to speculate since the reasons for the deportation order have not been given.

The students and for most part the crowd at the seminar shared sentiments that the deportation is unfair and proves that "Botswana is moving towards authoritarianism". Good started his presentation by declaring that he is not a member of any political party in Botswana or anywhere else. He said he is a believer in criticism and quoted other critics who said, "silence is a threat to democracy". He said there is no model for transition in Botswana, adding that it is too flawed and complicated. He said problems in Botswana's democracy are shown by a number of factors which include the historical and cultural background of the country. He explained that wealth and power co-exist in a culturally legitimate inter-relationship in Botswana. He added that leadership in the country has been associated with wealth. He said colonial masters were comfortable leaving power in the then newly formed Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), with the belief that wealth shows responsibility.

"It is important that Tswana elites are historically distinctive from most others in Africa in their direct engagement in production, and in their being individual accumulators of wealth before-as well as during-their succession to high," Good and Taylor said in their paper. The two academics said the constitutional and political power is highly centralised on the executive. The paper attacked the founding president, the late Sir Seretse Khama, saying he did not like democracy, as he changed the constitution to suit his interests.

They said that when former president, Ketumile Masire lost elections twice in Kanye, Khama changed the constitution to get him to Parliament. The paper pointed out that BDP presidents have always manipulated the country's constitution to best suit their personal interests.

They accuse President Festus Mogae of failing to solve factionalism in the BDP and conclusions have been reached that he manipulated the constitution and favoured the inexperienced Vice President Ian Khama, by getting him elected into office, so that he could help him with the party problems.

Good said the country is definitely marching towards authoritarianism and automatic succession is out- dated and is not good for the people. After the presentation, the first to ask a question was the executive secretary of the BDP Dr.Comma Serema. He tried to discredit Good's presentation on the basis that his research is based on media reports, which are not always a true reflection of the real situation. Good replied that he relied on other sources and not just newspaper reports alone. Serema however met a lot of criticism from Good's supporters.

One person asked Good why the paper he presented is not balanced. He sought to know why the presentation lacked academic evidence, including the advantages and disadvantages of automatic succession.

However, all the students seemed in agreement that the country was moving towards authoritarianism.

One student termed the possible deportation of Good as a threat to freedom of expression. She said if the trend continues, the future of social scientists in the country is threatened because they will not engage in free criticism of government in fear of victimisation.

"This is not a good platform for political scientists of tomorrow," she said.

A good number of students who stood up to ask questions were in support of Good and Taylor's arguments.


Update: 23.02.2005


23 February 2005

Kenneth Good, professor of political science studies at the University of Botswana for 15 years, has been ordered to leave Botswana. Late last Friday three men arrived at his home with handcuffs to inform him he had been declared a prohibited immigrant and had 48 hours to leave the country. Professor Good's legal team went to the high court on Saturday and obtained a stay of execution from a judge, who ordered him to appear before the court on 7 March. Duma Boko, an attorney on Good's legal team, has received a death threat, reportedly from Botswana's intelligence service. Dr Boko is a well-known human rights attorney who is acting for the Bushmen of the Central Kalahari, whose case against the government for evicting them from their land is being heard in the high court now.

Professor Good is due to present a paper he co-authored entitled 'Presidential succession in Botswana: no model for Africa' at the university today. The paper is a critique of what the authors see as growing autocracy in the so-called 'model for Africa'. It is believed the paper may have been leaked to the president, who then ordered the deportation.

Professor Good is a noted academic who has not shied away from commentating on controversial government polices. He has written about the evictions of the Bushmen from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, and questioned Botswana's reputation as Africa's 'shining light of democracy'.
Stephen Corry, director of Survival, said today, 'This is a dark day for democracy in Botswana. The country's international reputation can only be further tarnished by this blatant attempt to restrict the freedom of speech of a well-respected, independent academic. Those who still believe that Botswana is a beacon of democracy on the continent must surely question this government, which is becoming increasingly authoritarian and intolerant of any dissent or criticism.'

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