Eritrean players granted asylum

Eritrean players singing their country's national anthem before the Zebras Eritrea match PIC. KEAOGILE BONANG
Eritrean players singing their country's national anthem before the Zebras Eritrea match PIC. KEAOGILE BONANG

Government has granted the 10 Eritrean football players stuck in Francistown, asylum, ending a two-week drama during which the High Court was called upon to prevent the players’ expulsion.

Yesterday evening, prominent lawyer, Dick Bayford told Mmegi that there had been official communication from the Ministry of Justice, Defence and Security to the effect that the players had been granted asylum.

“Our common position with the Eritrean Movement for Democracy and Human Rights is that we hail the position government has taken.

Government started on the wrong footing on this matter, but what’s important is that reason has prevailed,” he said.


Eritrea played against Botswana on October 13 in Francistown. After the match, immigration and government officials were informed that 10 players had refused to board their plane home and had been detained by police.

The Eritrean Movement for Democ- racy roped in local lawyers after Defence, Justice and Security minister, Shaw Kgathi told a local radio station that no consideration would be given for the players’ appeals for political asylum.

Kgathi told the radio station that the players had come into Botswana for football and thus had no standing to apply for asylum.

 On October 17, the High Court in Gaborone granted Bayford, the Eritrean Movement and the players an interdict stating that the players could stay in Botswana while their cases were heard under Botswana’s asylum law.

Bayford said no further court processes were necessary as the decision to grant asylum had rendered pending litigation pointless.

“From what we have been told, the players will now be processed and moved to the Dukwi Refugee Camp...”, he said.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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