The Government of Botswana wishes to inform the public, pertaining to the above subject matter, that it will be extending the normal courtesies for visiting dignitaries, for which the Chief of Protocol is responsible. Furthermore, President Khama will meet the Dalai Lama when he is in Botswana. His attendance of the conference, for the Official opening or otherwise, will be determined by his schedule.
This, however, is a confusing U-turn in less than 24 hours when the government issued a statement denying all involvement and that of President Khama in the Dalai Lama’s upcoming visit. The statement said the government would not extend hospitality and protocol to the controversial figure.
The government had initially distanced itself from the event hosted by a Mind and Life Institute, a Non-Governmental Organisation where the Dalai Lama is scheduled to speak about Ubuntu/Botho. It has been reported that Khama was scheduled to deliver an opening address at the conference scheduled for August 17-19, 2017.
The conference is to be held under the theme “Dialogue with the Dalai Lama Spirituality, Science and Humanity.
The initial statement issued by the Office of the President
Office of the President – The government of Botswana has no official involvement in “botho/ubuntu” conference
In light of ongoing domestic and international media reports, the Government of Botswana wishes to reiterate that it has no official involvement in a three-day conference entitled “Botho/Ubuntu: A Dialogue with the Dalai Lama Spirituality, Science and Humanity”, scheduled for 17-19 August 2017.
In the above context and contrary to information released by the event’s apparent organisers “Mind and Life Institute”, H.E. the President Lt. General Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama shall not be delivering the opening address at the event. Neither shall he be participating in the said conference in any other way.
We further wish to affirm that, contrary to speculation in some quarters, the Government of Botswana will not be accommodating or otherwise extending official hospitality to Lhamo Thondup, otherwise known as Tenzin Gyatso the 14th Dalai Lama, should he visit our country.
Finally, we wish to hereby affirm, again contrary to information circulated by the “Mind and Life Institute,” that the Botswana Government’s Chief of Protocol is not acting as a contact person for the event. ]
Dr Jeff Ramsay,
Deputy Permanent Secretary for Government Communications,
Office of the President
China cautions Botswana over Dalai Lama visit
China warned Botswana on Friday against hosting the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who is due to visit there next month, saying it hoped Botswana could make the “correct” decision about the trip.
The Dalai Lama is expected to address a human rights conference in the capital, Gaborone, on 17-19 August and will also meet Botswana’s president. China is a major investor in Botswana’s economy. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Geng Shuang (pictured) told a daily news briefing that the Dalai Lama wears the cloak of religion to engage in anti-China, separatist activities and China opposes any foreign official meeting him in any form.
“We hope the relevant country can clearly recognise the essence of who the Dalai Lama is, earnestly respect China’s core concerns and make the correct decision on this issue,” Geng said.
The Dalai Lama, who fled from Tibet into exile in India in 1959 following a failed uprising against Chinese rule, has long been at loggerheads with China, which brands him a dangerous separatist. The Dalai Lama, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, says he seeks greater rights, including religious freedom and genuine autonomy for Tibet.
Visits by the Dalai Lama to foreign countries infuriate China. It often retaliates by stopping high-level meetings or taking economic steps, like last year when it imposed new border fees following a visit by the Dalai Lama to Mongolia. Botswana’s neighbour South Africa has denied the Buddhist monk a visa three times since 2009 in what opposition parties there and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, say shows the extent of Beijing’s influence over Pretoria.
China’s fast-growing demand for raw materials has made it one of the biggest investors in Africa and its largest trade partner. Chinese state-owned companies have been awarded contracts to build roads, dams, power stations and airports in Botswana.
Source: Mmegi, Botswana Government Facebook page, ewn.co.za