[Moderator's note: we have previously carried the beginning of this issue in March, to which the government of Botswana responded. This appeal is being circulated, and cc to the parties concerned, including the spokesperson for the goverment of Botswana)
H.E. Festus Mogae,
President of the Republic of Botswana
Re: Deportation of Prof. Kenneth Good
Your Excellency, President Mogae,
On 18 February 2005 you have exercised the powers vested in you by section 7(f) of the Botswana Immigration Act and declared Prof. Kenneth Good "To be an undesirable inhabitant of or visitor to Botswana". Prof. Good was the same day served with a 'Notice of Determination' declaring him as 'undesirable person'. He was finally deported after a High Court rejected his urgent application within hours after the judgement end of May 2005.
President Mogae, you declared that your decision was taken "in the interests of the peace, stability and national security of Botswana". Using your discretionary powers, you declined to offer any further reasons. Prof. Good, a 72-year-old Australian citizen, was at this time for almost 15 years in employment with the University of Botswana. Locally resident since 1990, he raised his daughter Clara, who is about to finish her schooling in a year's time. While Prof. Good is known to be a Political Scientist advocating critical analyses in favour of the marginalized and poor, he has to my knowledge never committed any crime.
I am therefore proud that The Nordic Africa Institute based in Uppsala/Sweden, at which I am employed as a Research Director, had been able to offer Prof. Good a temporary shelter with a three months affiliation as an extraordinary African guest researcher. I am worried however not only about his personal future, but also about the tarnished image of your country. Hence I dare to undertake this initiative by submitting this appeal to you. I have furthermore taken the liberty of circulating it among members of the international scholarly community and invited colleagues to show their solidarity with Ken Good as much as our shared concern about the wider implications of your decision with regard to the deterioration of the political and human rights culture in your country by co-signing this appeal. Those who have responded are listed as co-signatories below.
According to the ruling of the High Court you as President have the discretionary power used in the case of Prof. Good. But you are also free to revoke such a decision at any given time and under what conditions you determine. Section 12 of the Immigration Act provides that the President may cause a prohibited immigrant to cease to be one for such period and subject to such conditions as may be specified.
Prof Good had an employment contract with the University of Botswana until the end of 2006. By this time his daughter, to whom he had been the primary caretaker and who had lived with her father all her life until his deportation, would complete her schooling in Botswana (she has never gone to school elsewhere). Prof. Good's academic track record and his commitments to teaching and supervising students at his department at the university is beyond any doubt a positive example of professional reliability, honesty and integrity. Prof. Good has served this university department in Gaborone faithfully since 15 years.
His deportation has seriously damaged Botswana's reputation as a plural democracy, which honours both academic freedom and the freedom of opinion. It furthermore casts doubt on the degree of commitments to safeguarding an individual's right to be protected from arbitrary action. Prof. Good's partisan views on several contentious issues in Botswana might be at the displeasure of the authorities and considered as controversial. But he has neither committed any illegal activities nor violated fundamental constitutional principles - as a matter of fact, he simply took the liberty to actively practise some of these rights and principles.
President Mogae, we urge you to reconsider and - if only on moral and humanitarian grounds - to revoke your earlier decision to declare Prof. Good a prohibited immigrant. Let him allow to return to his workplace and home. Allow him to finish his contractual obligations with the University of Botswana until the end of 2006. This would also allow him to reunite with his daughter, who by then will be able to complete her schooling in Gaborone. Show your citizens and the wider world that the notion of good governance is not a foreign word to you and that academic freedom and the freedom of opinion are precious goods protected by your government.
Dr. Henning Melber
The Nordic Africa Institute
Title, Name, Profession, Institute, Place
Please submit your signatory by a simple transmission of the details above and the reference "Good" to <mailto:Nina.Klinge-Nygard@nai.uu.se>Nina.Klinge-Nygard@nai.uu.se, who administers the list. We would like to submit the appeal soonest and urge you to quickly respond.
Dr. Henning Melber
The Nordic Africa Institute
P.O. Box 1703
SE-751 47 Uppsala / Sweden
(physical address: Kungsgatan 38)
Tel. +46-18-562200/562220 (direct)