President Ian Khama ordered the arrest and deportation of the controversial American homophobic pastor Steven Anderson yesterday. Following an explosive interview on Breakfast with Reg on GabzFM yesterday morning, Anderson, of the Faithful Word Baptist Church was taken and whisked away by immigration and security personnel led by spy chief Isaac Kgosi, to the Immigration Department offices.
A while later, information was released that he was being deported.
Reuters quoted Khama saying he ordered Anderson’s immediate arrest and deportation after the pastor said in an interview with a local radio station that gays and lesbians should be killed.
“He was picked up at the radio station. I said they should pick him up and show him out of the country,” Khama told the news agency. “We don’t want hate speech in this country. Let him do it in his own country.” He also said Anderson had been put on a visa watch-list two days after being barred from South Africa, but appeared to have slipped into Botswana before all border posts were fully alerted. Hours after his deportation government also confirmed that he had been deported and declared a prohibited immigrant.
But for his members it was a heavy blow as they were left running around confused and trying to figure out what to do. One of his team members, photographer Paul Wittenberger who was held with Anderson at the immigration office, told the media shortly after his release that he had no idea what was going on and that he was not given much information.
He said he was confused as he was detained and released without being told anything, while Anderson was still detained at a separate room. “They detained me and later said I was free to go. They also told me Anderson was being deported out of the country immediately,”
“We are here to save people from sin and we will continue with our work. We will go out and preach today and then attend the wedding we came for, which is in two days,” he said.
While the media waited outside the immigration offices, Anderson was allegedly whisked to the airport through the basement. Mmegi crew then went to Tsholofelo East where most of his team was. Samuel Osborne, who confessed to have known Anderson for only a month before coming with him to the country, said they had no idea where their pastor was, as he was not answering his mobile phone. He explained that the police and other people came to them looking for Anderson’s belongings but couldn’t get them as they did not have the house keys. “We are not even sure if he has left the country already and we are confused as to what will happen to us since he has been taken away,” he said. At the time of going to press, the American Embassy officials were reportedly in a meeting with immigration officials.