The doyen of demcoracy has fallen Long live professor good
In May 2005, President Festus Mogae deported Australian born professor Kenneth Good, apparently for being too critical of his government.
Good, aged 72 at the time was a respected Political Science Professor at the University of Botswana and had been with the institution for 15 years.
Good was declared a Prohibited Immigrant earlier in February coinciding with the publication of a paper he had co-authored that criticised the way the country’s leaders were appointed.
His position on automatic succession earned him the wreath of the political leadership of the time. His opinions were clearly outlined in his academic paper, Presidential Succession in Botswana: No Model for Africa.
His deportation was widely criticised by scholars across the world and put a sharp focus on Botswana’s democratic credentials.
Good later took his case to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. In May 2010 they handed down their judgement in Good’s favour.
Botswana had violated several Articles of the African Charter, and the Commission recommended that Botswana should provide adequate compensation to Good.
On Tuesday Professor Good succumbed to a severe stroke and died aged 87 years.
Now 15 years since his forced departure from the country, citizens reflect at his life in Botswana.
When he was PI’ed I was his student at the University of Botswana.
He was a man who had an interest in the socio-economic and politics of Botswana.
He was critical of our institutions and their shortfalls in democracy.
He was fearless in what he did, and as a unionist, I believe civil society and academia should play a critical role in advancing democracy.
His role was not limited to the classroom. He contributed a lot to our democracy.
Contributing to democracy doesn’t mean one has to stand for elections. You can do that through academic papers like Professor Good did on the issue of automatic succession.
I’m saddened by the passing of this giant of democracy. He has been a critical piece in the survival of democracy in this country.
He fearlessly fought against those who wanted to monopolise democracy and actually won.
You have to realise that everything Professor Good said has come to pass, he has been vindicated.
I personally think President Mokgweetsi Masisi owes the nation an apology for what happened to him.
Past regimes have wronged so many people and the Presidency has to apologise.
I had hope he’d one day come back to Botswana and enjoy the peace and tranquil and contribute to our literary work.
Prof Kenneth Good was a walking encyclopedia of Political Science and Public Administration and a fervent proponent, advocate and fighter of democracy in its purest form.
When it comes to investigative research he was a doyen and class of his own — an erudite academic who left no stone unturned.
This is exemplified by his work: ‘Diamonds, Dispossession and Democracy in Botswana (2008)’ and ‘The illusion of Democracy in Botswana’ (2010).
His mighty pen was heart-piercing and potent; the weak only had one choice: deport! They could not engage his facts. He uncovered the hidden, the covert agenda and abuse of office by the elites.
Scholars such as Kenneth Good argued that Botswana’s “exceptionality”, as a front-runner in democratic politics is based in part on the successful blending of the liberal democratic institutions with traditional institutions, which are based on bogosi [chieftainship]. (Richard, 2014: The Scandalous Murdering of Democracy).
A giant has fallen, but his research work will never fall.
His works shall remain relevant until eternity.
May his soul rest in peace.