President Ian Khama (Pic: Foreign & Commonwealth Office)
Botswana’s LGBT rights group has applauded President Ian Khama for personally ordering the arrest and deportation of American gay hate pastor Steven Anderson.
On Tuesday, Anderson was taken into custody by immigration officials at the Gabzfm radio station, where he had just conducted a hate-filled interview.
The preacher said on air that gays and lesbian should be executed and went on to viciously attack Caine Youngman, from the group Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (Legabibo), as a “dirty paedophile” and “recruiter”.
President Khama told Reuters in an interview after Anderson’s arrest: “He was picked up at the radio station. I said they should pick him up and show him out of the country.”
Khama added: “We don’t want hate speech in this country. Let him do it in his own country.” The president also revealed that the government had intended to stop Anderson when he came into the country but that he had managed to sneak in.
“I am very happy he was deported,” Youngman told Mambaonline. “I am proud of my government that it stayed true to its word that it will keep tabs on him to make sure he doesn’t incite violence or preach hate.”
Youngman said that he hoped that Anderson’s deportation from Botswana and his recent banning by South Africa signalled a wider move against American preachers who travel to Africa in order to spread their anti-LGBT hate on the continent.
Scott Lively, another US evangelist, is currently facing charges in America of crimes against humanity for his role in fuelling anti-LGBT fervour and inspiring homophobic legislation in Uganda.
As for the personal attack against him by Anderson, Youngman responded: “As a gay man I have learned to develop a thick skin. His insults have become part of the many insults we get every day as the LGBTI community.”
The evangelist’s deportation is another major victory for Legabibo, which campaigned to have him thrown out of Botswana. In March, it won a court case that saw the government being ordered to officially acknowledge and register the organisation. The groundbreaking ruling was acknowledged as an affirmation of LGBTI equality and the right to freedom of association in the country.
While homosexuality is not specifically outlawed in Botswana, gay people could be prosecuted under Section 164 of the Penal Code that bars “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature,” with penalties including seven years in prison.
Below is a video of the moment that Anderson was detained and taken away by Immigration officials in Gaborone.