Mmegi Online :: Botswana's relentless stance against China on Dalai Lama
Last Updated
Friday 20 July 2018, 14:06 pm.
Botswana's relentless stance against China on Dalai Lama

PARLIAMENT HANSARD: International Affairs and Cooperation minister, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi explains Botswana's position on One China Policy and Dalai Lama in parliament on Tuesday
By Correspondent Wed 26 Jul 2017, 17:00 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Botswana's relentless stance against China on Dalai Lama

MR D. L. KEORAPETSE (SELEBI PHIKWE WEST): asked the Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation to explain the Government’s position on One China Policy:-

(i) to state if Government in its foreign policy recognises One China Policy, and to explain its understanding of what it means and/or entails regarding South China Sea, Taiwan and Tibet (and the Dalai Lama) inter alia;

(ii) what mutual benefits are there in Sino-Tswana relations;

(iii) to what extent is the Government involved in the Dalai Lama visit, who in the state is involved in their private and/or official capacity, which state buildings and other resources will be used to accomplish the mission, and what is the specific role of His Excellency the President, his office or officials;

(iv) which country in Africa, known to the Government, which is a friend of China has ever invited the Dalai Lama and never suffered consequences of negative effect on relations;

(v) is it in the best strategic national interest for the Dalai Lama to visit Botswana for whatever purpose, if this would not be acceptable to China and hence China retaliated by suspending all diplomatic and other relations; and

 (vi) what is the role of the United States of America Government, its people or agencies in the Dalai Lama visit to Botswana.



Mr Speaker, so far Botswana remains committed to the One China Policy. Our understanding of the One China Policy is that there is but only one sovereign state called the Peoples’ Republic of China, in spite of the existence of two Governments that claim to be “China”. As a policy, this means that countries which intend to enter into diplomatic relations with the Peoples’ Republic of China must sever official relations with Taiwan and vice versa.

However, our understanding of the One China Policy does not include South China Sea, as it is a disputed area. This is the reason why Botswana has been advocating for the concerned parties to resolve the matter through arbitration with international institutions set up for such purposes.

Regarding Taiwan and Tibet, I wish to underscore that whilst Botswana regards the two as an integral part of the Peoples’ Republic of China, the Taiwanese and Tibetans, are free to visit Botswana in their private capacities.

Mr Speaker, you may wish to note that, as a democratic and sovereign state, Botswana has a prerogative to decide who to allow into its territory, based on her immigration regulations. Essentially, this is a matter that falls within the domestic jurisdiction of Botswana. As you may be aware, the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries is at the core of China’s foreign policy. We therefore expect the Peoples’ Republic of China to respect our sovereign decision on this matter, as we never dictate to other countries who they should admit in their territories.

It is therefore, our considered view that the Dalai Lama’s visit to Botswana should not diminish the existing strong bonds of friendship and fruitful cooperation that has stood the test of time between our two republics.

Mr Speaker, the United States of America Government has no role in the Dalai Lama’s visit to Botswana.

I wish to just add additional information here because the representative of the Chinese Government to Botswana has expressed concern about the security of the Dalai Lama. We have done some work on security check-up on Dalai Lama. Let me quote, I have spoken to our Embassies from the United States. Our office has confirmed with their sources there, and I quote as follows, this is a document from my office in Washington DC. “The Dalai Lama regularly visits the United States and has held meetings with the President Obama and more recently with President Trump. During his visits to the United States, Dalai Lama has interacted with State Governors, universities, members of congress, religious bodies and celebrities in the United States.”

From India again; my Embassy contacted the foreign office in India. I quote with your permission Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Go ahead.

DR VENSON-MOITOI: “His holiness is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. His holiness and his followers have behaved well as per the terms of their refugee status in India. His holiness presence in India has not in current times caused any friction in relation between India and China.” Those are the words of the Indian Government.

I have checked with United Nations as well, our office in New York; may I quote again Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Go ahead.

DR VENSON-MOITOI: “While the United Nations (UN) is sensitive to China’s objection to Dalai Lama’s separatist agenda, at the same time, the UN would not allow itself to be held to ransom by an individual member state. The UN takes the position that how individual member states choose to relate to Dalai Lama is a matter for sovereign decision of the individual member states concerned.”

Finally, we checked with Interpol to check if there was any security threat to Botswana by the visit of Dalai Lama. We got clearance from their listing of security threats to nations. It is called a ‘listing under I-24/7’ for those that might be interested to check, and the Dalai Lama cleared that list. I thank you Mr Speaker.

MR KEORAPETSE: Supplementary. Ke a utlwa Honourable Minister. I just want to know why you decided not to answer (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), and (v) because these are part of the questions Mr Speaker, and the Minister has not answered these questions. But most importantly (v), she has not answered this. So, can you assist us Mr Speaker so that she answers.

DR VENSON-MOITOI: Kana Mr Speaker, gongwe ke tlaa tswa mo tseleng ke simolola ke botsa wena dipotso. Go itsege fela sentle gore Honourable Keorapetse o tswa China. Jaanong ke ka mo araba rraetsho, mme dipotso tse...(interruptions)...

MR SPEAKER: Order! Fa le ka tsosa modumo, I will not allow any further supplementaries.

DR VENSON-MOITOI: Mmang ke arabe. Jaanong dipotso tse, ke setse ke di arabile kwa go Ambassador wa China, e bile ke setse ke di arabile gape kwa go Tona wa China wa tsa Mafatshe a Sele. Jaanong ke ka botsa wena Speaker gore, a ke ka arabana le China on the floor of Parliament or not, which I am quite happy to do. There are foreign protocols which are to be followed by any Government in power. The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Government when we are in power, we have a Foreign Ministry o re berekang ka one. Bone fa ba busa, fa e le gore ba tlaa busa ka go tla go gogagoga mafatshe a mangwe fa, state capture, ba tlaa tla ba e dira bone fa ba busa. Rona ga re buse jalo. Jaanong, dipotso tse, fa e le gore rraetsho o romilwe...

HONOURABLE MEMBER: Procedure Mr Speaker.

DR VENSON-MOITOI: O tlaa tla a re bolelela.

HONOURABLE MEMBER: Procedure Mr Speaker.

DR VENSON-MOITOI: O tlaa nkatlhola...

MR KEORAPETSE: Further supplementary.

HONOURABLE MEMBER: Procedure Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Le itse gore ke eng, fa le simolola le tsosa modumo le tshuba microphones lotlhe, ke a emisa. A re direng fela sentle, jaaka re ntse re dira ka dipotso tse. Le botse supplementaries le tlaa arabiwa, le wetse dibete. Ga ke batle modumo o ke sa tlhaloganyeng gore le tsiediwa ke eng.

Honourable Mother, nna kana tota ke lebelela Standing Order sa lona gore, a go na le sengwe se se go kganelang go araba, mme fa e le gore ga go na sepe se se go kganelang go araba mo Standing Order, o tshwanelwa ke go araba. Kwa ntle ga o ka nthaya wa re, “nnyaa, fa ke araba potso e, ke tlaabo ke tlola Standing Order 38.1,” ka ke sone Standing Order se se buang ka dipotso. E seng jalo, phuthologa fela o arabe motlotlegi. Wena Honourable Mmolotsi, o se ka wa itshwenya ka go botsa supplementary, o modumo. Araba Honourable...

MR KEORAPETSE: Further supplementary.

MR SPEAKER: Nnyaa, Honourable Mother o santse

a araba.

DR VENSON-MOITOI: Potso e e leng gore gongwe mokaulengwe o ka ngongorega thata ka yone, e ke sa e alang ka bophara, ke (iii)...

HONOURABLE MEMBER: (V) ga e a arabiwa...

DR VENSON-MOITOI: Nnyaa, (v) ke e arabile, ya lona le maAmerica, ke e arabile.

(iii) We are going to be providing security for Dalai Lama and accommodation.

MR KEORAPETSE: Further supplementary.

DR VENSON-MOITOI: Ema pele, mma ke tlhole gore mo go (v) ke tlogetse eng se o se batlang. Ga a etela Botswana, this is a private visit, I did say.

MR NGAKA: Supplementary. Thank you Mr Speaker. Mother, ke botsa ka go ya China ga ga Honourable Keorapetse, go mabapi fa kae le karabo e? A e seng gongwe go ne go sa nna sentle? O sa tswa go bolela gore go na le kwa le arabelang teng le le ba Foreign Department in the country.

DR VENSON-MOITOI: Nnyaa, kana ga re ka ke ra laola movement wa ga Honourable Keorapetse. He is free as a free citizen of this country, go ya kwa a ka yang teng. Go tsamaya ga gagwe, fa go ya go nyalana le nako e go gogobiwang bana ba rona fano, ba ya go rotloediwa gore ba kwale ka lefatshe la bone ba le kgale, e bo e re a tswa koo, a bo a tla a botsa dipotso tse ke di botswang ke Moemedi wa batho ba lefatshe leo, go ka tsenya dipelaelo.

MR KESUPILE: Supplementary. Thank you very much Mr Speaker. Mother of the House, I just want to know, to what extent is your response and attitude that you adopt with respect to this question, influenced by the fact that Honourable Keorapetse visited China?

DR VENSON-MOITOI: Absolutely nothing.


MR SPEAKER: Supplementary, Father of the House.

MR KEORAPETSE: Mr Speaker, o ntebetse.

MR SPEAKER: Honourable Father of the House, a ga o a nkutlwa ke


go bitsa gore o botse?

MR TSOGWANE: Ga ke a utlwa, ba tsositse modumo. Modumo o, o sale o o kgalema o simolola o nna foo sir. Jaanong ke one o re itsang. Madam Minister of Foreign Affairs, in relation to question (iv), if I may ask...


MR SPEAKER: Honourable Father, nna fa fatshe.

HONOURABLE MEMBERS: ...(Laughter!)...

MR SPEAKER: Gakere o a bona gore le tsositse modumo, motho e bile o setse a ipotsa potso mo Palamenteng.

MR KEORAPETSE: Further supplementary. Mr Speaker, I thought you will protect me because the Mother of the House is imputing improper motives on myself. I do not know on what basis, she raised the issue of my recent visit to China. The visit included Government officials in the form of Government Journalists. She is imputing improper motives and I thought you will advise her.

My further supplementary question is whether it will be in the best interest of Botswana to anger the second largest consumer of their diamonds in the form of China by inviting Dalai Lama? That is what I want to know from you. How will this affect an ordinary Motswana if China was to sanction Botswana? How will it affect an ordinary Motswana because we know gore ba the quad bikes ba tlaa tswelela ba ntse ba fenya, but what about the ordinary Motswana at home, how will they be affected?


DR VENSON-MOITOI: Pele fa ke araba the question you have asked, let me apologise to Honourable Keorapetse...

MR SPEAKER: Go modumo, ema pele honourable. Go modumo, mme o dirwa ke Honourable Boko, a ko o fokotse modumo rraetsho. Honourable Boko, fokotsa modumo. Ga ke batle gore mo nakong ya me ke le Speaker, ke kobe Moeteledipele wa Kganetso mo Palamenteng, a ko o fokotse modumo. Araba Honourable Moitoi.

DR VENSON-MOITOI: Let me apologise to Honourable Keorapetse, o tlaa intshwarela Honourable Member, o bolelela ruri. Gongwe ke ne ka se ka ka nna explicit fa ke go araba mo go (iv), I implied (v) by saying it is a private visit, (iv) you are right, my answer is not elaborate gore ke lefatshe lefe mo Africa le a kileng a ya kwa go lone. Ke ka bo ke go boleletse fela gore, nnyaa, ga go na lepe le rona re le itseng.

HONOURABLE MEMBER: ...(Inaudible)...

DR VENSON-MOITOI: Ga re mafatshe ao, re rona. Mma ke arabe ya ntlha ya gore gongwe ga ke go bue sentle. Nnyaa, ka re fa e ka re re tshwere kgang fano, e lefatshe la China ba reng e a ba kgopisa, re a gakgamala gore e ba kgopisa ka lefe. Re sale re nna le botsala le batho ba nako e telele, ba sa bue sepe ka Dalai Lama. E bo e re re santse re gakgametse gore ba tsile fa ba kopa appointment, ka bua nabo, ka ba tlhalosetsa, ba supa ka fa ba kgopesegileng ka teng, ka ba kopela appointment, ba ya go bona Tautona...


DR VENSON-MOITOI: Two hours ba ntse le Tautona. Fa re santse re buile nabo le Tautona, ba tlogela kgang ya ga Tautona e ba neng ba e neetswe. Ba latela Matona one by one, ba leka go ba ntsha mo mafokong a ba a neetsweng ke Tautona.

HONOURABLE MEMBER: ...(Inaudible)...

DR VENSON-MOITOI: Ba ya kwa Dikgosing, ba latela Kgosi Kgamane kwa Serowe. Ke gore ba tsena mo campaign e re neng re sa e... Fa re santse re gakgamaletse ao, ke fa ba rwala the journalists. Fa gare ga the journalists tse, Honourable Keorapetse a bo a le mo teng. Jaanong ka re nna...

HONOURABLE MEMBER: ...(Inaudible)...

DR VENSON-MOITOI: Nnyaa, mma ke go arabe.

HONOURABLE MEMBER: ...(Inaudible)...

DR VENSON-MOITOI: Mma ke go arabe. Gakere o

ne o mpotsa?

HONOURABLE MEMBER: ...(Inaudible)...

DR VENSON-MOITOI: O ne o mpotsa. O ne a mpotsa gore pelaelo ke e tsaya kae? Pelaelo ya me e tswa gone fa. Fa ke le fa gare ga kgang e e kanakana, e ke sa itseng gore gatwe e tsalwa ke eng, Honourable Keorapetse e bo e re a tswa koo, a bo a tla a mpotsa potso e e tshwanang le dipotso tse ke di arabang Moemedi wa lefatshe la China, ke tshwanetse ka ipotsa gore ene o tsena fa kae? A o e boletsa batho ba Selebi Phikwe kana o e boletsa batho ba a tswang kwa go bone? Ke sone se ke se botsang. Jaanong fa e le gore ke molato rraetsho, ee o tlaa intshwarela. Ke itse o emetse batho ba Selebi Phikwe.


MR SPEAKER: Order! Go modumo! Go modumo!


MR SPEAKER: Mma a fetse Honourable Moremi, o tlaa tla o botsa.

DR VENSON-MOITOI: Ya bofelo...

HONOURABLE MEMBER: ...(Inaudible)...

DR VENSON-MOITOI: Rra, a re reetsane. Fa re le lefatshe jaana, re tsile go tsaya ditshwetso tse di tlaa kgopisang bangwe. Re ne re tlhola re kgopisa maburu ka fa. Kgang ke gore re emetse eng?

HONOURABLE MEMBER: Ditshwanelo tsa batho.

DR VENSON-MOITOI: Ditshwanelo tsa Batswana, boleng jwa Batswana jwa reng? Lefatshe le la Batswana, a ke la rona ba re felelang mo seatleng, ba re leng fano, ba re busang? Re ya go raya Batswana re reng, re rekisitse lefatshe la Batswana ka dikobo tse maChina ba re di fang?

HONOURABLE MEMBERS: ...(Inaudible)...

DR VENSON-MOITOI: Kgang ke yone eo.

HONOURABLE MEMBERS: ...(Applause!)...


DR VENSON-MOITOI: Ee! Ke e baya fela jalo ke tlhamaletse. MaChina ba tlaa tshwanelwa ke gore ba re tlhamaletse gore ga ba ka ke ba re raya ba re, “bulelang yo, tswalelang yo.” Re romilwe ke Batswana gore melao ya lefatshe le...

HONOURABLE MEMBER: ...(Inaudible)...

DR VENSON-MOITOI: Ntheetsa! O mpoditse potso, mma ke go arabe. E se ka ya re le sena go mpotsa potso, le bo le itlhodia. Lefatshe le, ke la Batswana, ga se la rona ba re kopang dikobo kwa Machaeneng. Ke la Batswana. Lefatshe le, fa go tulwe motho yo o sa senyetsang ope gope, yo o sa bolaeng batho, o a tsena fa a na le pasa, batho bao ba tshwanetse ba letlelelwa. Ke molao o o beilweng ke Batswana, ga se wa rona fa. Kwa kgaolong ya me bagaetsho, ke na le matlo a batlhoki a a agilweng ke maChina, nna Pelonomi. Nna! Mme ga ke ka ke ka tla ka rekisa lefatshe la gaetsho, ke babaletse matlo ao. Nnyaa!

HONOURABLE MEMBER: ...(Inaudible)...

DR VENSON-MOITOI: Nnyaa, Dalai Lama ga ke mo itse le kobo ya gagwe gore e tsiang...

MR SPEAKER: Honourable Moitoi, o bue le nna kwano.

DR VENSON-MOITOI: Motsamaisa Dipuisanyo tsa Palamente, ke dumela fa ke arabile potso e rraetsho.


MR SPEAKER: Order! A re reetsaneng batlotlegi. Modumo o o kanakana o o tsogileng, o nthaya o re le kgotsofetse. Honourable Moremi o ne a ntse a supile gore o batla go botsa, ke tlaa tsaya e le ene wa bofelo.

HONOURABLE MEMBER: Ao! Mr Speaker, ke sale ke re supplementary.

MR SPEAKER: Modumo wa lona o nthaya o re le siame jaanong.

MR MOREMI: Tanki Mr Speaker. Ke ne ke re Madam Minister, o supile mo tlhalosong ya gago gore maChina ba ne ba tla go go bona. Boemedi jwa bone mo Botswana, ba bo ba ya go bona le Tautona for two hours. Go tswa foo, ba latela Minister by Minister, go tswang foo ba latela le ba Ntlo ya Dikgosi. Ke re ke botse gore, bone ba re ba tshwenngwa ke eng se se tona? A mme mo go bueng le lona, a ba ne ba tlhalosa dikgato dingwe tse ba ka di tsayang fa re ka letlelela Rre Dalai Lama go ka etela Botswana? Ga ke bue ka to dictate ope fela gore a letlelele mang, a se ka a letlelela mang. Re a tlhaloganya rotlhe gore action nngwe le nngwe e na le repercussions tsa yone. Ga se to dictate gore yole a se ka a tsena. Ke go go tlhalosetsa gore mme gone ene fa a tsene kwa go lona, dikgato re ya go tsaya tse le tse. A ba ne ba le di nankolela dikgato tse ba ka di tsayang? Tanki.

DR VENSON-MOITOI: Honourable Moremi, nnyaa rra ga ba a bua dikgato, ke ba boditse. Re di utlwa fela kwa go ba ba di ba bolelelang.


DR VENSON-MOITOI: Re di utlwa fela kwa go ba ba di ba bolelelang. Rona ba re reile ba re, “re kopa gore motho yoo, le se ka la mo neela visa, a se ka a tla Botswana”. Re ne ra botsa gore, “ka go reng?” Ba re, “nnyaa, ka gore ga re utlwane nae”. Ao! Mme go sa utlwane nae ga lona, rona re le Botswana, ga go ka ke ga re kganela ka melao ya rona go mo letlelela go tla Botswana. Re eme foo.


DR VENSON-MOITOI: Sa gore, “re tlaa reng, re tlaa re”, re di utlwa fela koo. Re tsweletse bagaetsho, re a buisanya le maChina. Ke na le meeting o o emeng wa go kopana le Moemedi wa bone gape.


MR SPEAKER: Order! Honourable Members. Fa ke utlwa le tsositse modumo le sa reetse Mother of the House a araba, go nthaya gore o le arabile sentle, le kgotsofetse.

DR VENSON-MOITOI: ...(Inaudible)...

MR SPEAKER: Ee, wa baakanya? Baakanya.

DR VENSON-MOITOI: Ke na le correction fa, officers ba me ba a mpaakanyetsa for the record. I am sorry sir, gore ke bue gore bo Tautona ba a tsileng nabo, le fa in the notes ba ne ba nkwaletse ba rile ke Trump. Ke Obama le Bush.



HONOURABLE MEMBER: Ba a kopaneng le bone.

DR VENSON-MOITOI: Botlhe ba a kopaneng nabo, and Trump, botlhe ka boraro. Ke gore bo Tautona botlhe ka boraro.

HONOURABLE MEMBER: Further supplementary.

MR SPEAKER: Nnyaa, go baakanya ga ga Mother of the House, ga go reye gore ka tsela epe fela ke fetogela se ke neng ke se buile.

HONOURABLE MEMBERS: ...(Inaudible)...

MR SPEAKER: Order! Honourable Members Order! A re tsweleleng, tiro ya rona e santse e le ntsi.

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