Pastor Steven Anderson deported from Botswana after calling for death of gays and lesbians
The president of Botswana said yesterday he had ordered the arrest and deportation of anti-gay US pastor Steven Anderson.
Anderson, pastor of the Faithful Word Baptist Church in Arizona, had previously been barred from South Africa and from the UK because of his homophobic views. He had notoriously welcomed the killing of 50 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, saying there were now "50 less paedophiles in this world".
President Ian Khama said he had ordered Anderson's immediate arrest and deportation after the pastor said in an interview with a local radio station in the capital Gabarone on Tuesday morning 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 said in an interview. "We don't want hate speech in this country. Let him do it in his own country."
The president said Anderson had been put on a visa watch-list two days ago after being barred from South Africa but appeared to have slipped into Botswana before all border posts were fully alerted.
Anderson denied he was being deported.
"I am not being arrested. I am leaving Botswana voluntarily," he told witnesses at the radio station, adding in the local Setswana language that he loved Botswana very much.
During Tuesday's radio interview, in which he also called for pedophiles and adulterers to be killed and said the Bible barred women from preaching in church, Anderson said he had arrived in Botswana last Thursday from Ethiopia.
Onkokame Mosweu, a commentator on gay and lesbian affairs, welcomed the government's move to remove Anderson, adding: "He should have never been allowed to come to Botswana in the first place."
Anderson has not met with the encouragement he might have hoped for on his visit to Africa. The Evangelical Alliance of South Africa condemned his "hatred for LGBTs" when his visit there was mooted. General secretary Moss Ntlha said: "The constitution lays the basis on which South Africa's many cultures agreed to live together. White-black, religious and secular, LGBT and straight, rich and poor, we all stand as one rainbow nation."
He continued: "As South Africans we accept that people with LGBT orientations have rights to dignity and freedom, as indeed all other South Africans."
Additional reporting by Reuters.