Botswana deports U.S. pastor Steven Anderson over anti-gay views

GABORONE (Reuters) - President Ian Khama of Botswana said on Tuesday he had ordered the arrest and deportation of U.S. pastor Steven Anderson, who was banned from neighboring South Africa last week over his anti-gay views.

Anderson, of the Faithful Word Baptist Church in Arizona, notoriously welcomed the gunning down in June of 50 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida by saying “there’s 50 less pedophiles in this world”.

Khama told Reuters 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.

Banning him from South Africa on Sept. 13, that country’s home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba also equated Anderson’s views with hate speech.

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.”

Reporting by Ed Cropley; Writing by Tiisetso Motsoeneng; Editing by Catherine Evans