The government of Botswana has blocked the plans of it former president Ian Khama’s visit to Dharamshala in India, the residence of exiled Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the headquarter of the Central Tibetan Administration; the unofficial exile Tibetan government.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising day on March 10 and 60 years since the arrival of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in exile in 1959. On this important date, the Central Tibetan Administration has officially invited former president of Botswana, Ian Khama participate at the event here in Dharamshala, India.
However, the ruling government of Botswana has rejected the request from Khama’s office to officiate the planned visit. The government has expressed its concerns that the Khama’s participation in the important Tibetan event could anger the Chinese administration. Khama’s office had written to the Office of the President informing it of the trip for financial and logistical support.
Permanent Secretary in the Office of the President Carter Morupisi said Botswana “subscribes to the One China Policy and essentially this means we regard Tibet as part of China.” according to the report in Journal du Camroun.
“It would not augur well for the Government of Botswana to sponsor or support (financially, diplomatically or logistically) any personality, especially a high-profile individual as the former President, to interact with the Tibetan Group, which is in exile in India,” Morupisi said.
Khama in response has said that he is entitled to government assistance on logistics and finances for trips anywhere he chooses. According to the report by Phayul, he said, “I think I will take the legal route. As much as I know I am entitled to four international trips per year and they do not have a say on where I am going. This is unacceptable. Those people value my leadership.”
Ian Khama has earlier been confronted by China by inviting His Holiness the Dalai Lama to his country in 2017 for a conference which the Tibetan leader later cancelled citing health complications. He responded equally against Chinese backlash then by declaring that his country is “not a colony of China”.