SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London) Research Associate and International Relations academic Chedza Mogae has criticised Botswana for allowing the Dalai Lama to visit the country.
Chedza - the daughter of Botswana’s second president Festus Mogae - was among journalists and think tanks invited by the Chinese government on a trip to China last week.
She said of the impending visit of the Dalai Lama to Botswana: “Unfortunately Botswana does not have a codified foreign policy and its foreign affairs ministry operates using generalists as opposed to specialists, which is what led to confusion with regard to the One China Policy, which is in effect, the One China Principle formalised.”
She said the policy is not just about Taiwan, it is about any move in support of the separation of any part of China; “a policy we agreed to support and respect at the onset of diplomatic relations (between China and Botswana”. She noted that, further, China’s Africa policy outlines how in turn, the Chinese government does not and will not involve itself in such issues on the African continent.
“The people and government of China accept that the Dalai Lama is a spiritual leader, what they don’t accept is that he’s the political leader of an independent Tibet. And from my interactions with Tibetans young and old, they feel the same way. They pay very little or no heed to the so-called Tibetan Government in Exile of which the Dalai Lama is the leader.”
Mogae said President Ian Khama is not an international scholar and he feels “he can say what he wants.” She praised former presidents, Sir Seretse Khama and Sir Ketumile Masire, saying Khama was very intelligent with foreign policy issues while Masire was an educator.
“These people were nation builders. The educational level within our technocrats is wanting,” she said.