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Khama Could Not Listen On Dalai Lama - PSP

Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP), Carter Morupisi has explained that Botswana does not associate with Tibetian spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama because of the economic benefits the country enjoys from its relationship with China.

He was speaking at a press conference he called to rebut some of the issues raised by former president Ian Khama in his interaction with the Office of the President (OP) following his retirement.

Just recently, Khama quit the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). He announced his departure at a meeting he called in Serowe where he also unveiled a new party, the Botswana Patriotic Front that he fully backs.

Khama criticised the government for amongst other issues ‘harassing his support staff, denying him transport as well as disapproving his trip to India to meet the Dalai Lama’. But Morupisi told the media that he gave in when Khama declined his (Morupisi’s) advice to disapprove of the Dalai Lama’s visit.

“We were so happy when it was announced that he (the Dalai Lama) would not be able to come to Botswana due to ill health. Even for the trip to India, I tried to ask him (Khama) not to go but he just went ahead with his trip. We as Botswana have vowed to support the one China Policy. We will suffer greatly if China stops helping us,” he said.

Still on the matter, Morupisi said they (government) tried by all means to explain to Khama the dangers of associating with the Dalai Lama but he did not listen.

“We have over 100 students who are currently studying in China sponsored by the Chinese government. We have for many years now been getting loans from

China with low interest rate,” he revealed.“China sends specialist doctors to Botswana to assist in areas where we do not have adequate knowledge. We also have diamonds of which China buys 20%. They have other options but the do buy from us. They had promised us that if we continue entertaining the Dalai Lama they would impose sanctions on us and close their embassy in Botswana.”

On other issues, Morupisi said Khama currently has nine extra staff members, which is what he is entitled to in terms of staff complement. The officers were seconded to his office and residence at his request. The agreement was that they should be redeployed after one year, something that has not happened yet. However, he said that would be done to ensure compliance with the law.

In terms of expenditure, Morupisi told the media that in the just ended financial year, former president Festus Mogae was allocated P160, 000 for employees’ overtime costs of which P109, 000 was used. But Khama’s office was allocated P650, 000. The office used up P540, 000 of the allocated funds.

PSP further said the Housing Appeal for the needy started in 1994 by former the late and president Sir Ketumile Masire under the name President’s Small Borrowers Fund and assisted the needy. He said the programme will continue to be managed under the OP, as it is part of government drive to address poverty among the vulnerable groups.





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