The government sent a July 27 letter to Mukumbira, a Zimbabwean national who had been working in Botswana since 2002, revoking his work and residence permits and ordering him to leave the country within seven days, according to the Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA). He was forced to leave the country on August 2, the journalist told CPJ. Mukumbira was a news editor for the Ngami Times in northwest Botswana and a correspondent for international news media, including Agence France-Presse and the UN-affiliated IRIN.
Mukumbira said he received no explanation for his expulsion, but he believed it was connected to his work as a journalist. He told CPJ that it may be linked to his reports on sensitive subjects such as the government's eviction of the San people of the Kalahari desert from their ancestral homeland.
The government invoked sections of Botswana's Immigration Act and Employment of Non-Citizens Act to revoke Mukumbira's permits, according to MISA, which expressed concern about the impact of such action on media freedom and freedom of expression. These laws provide sweeping powers that can be used to effectively expel non-citizens, including journalists, without explanation.
Mukumbira's expulsion comes after Australian Kenneth Good, a political science lecturer at the University of Botswana, was forced to leave the country after his public criticism of government policies. Good's appeal against his deportation was rejected on July 26.