CTA’s refusal to give answers about Penpa Tsering’s ousting raises more questions

Deputy President and Minister of Culture and Religion Karma Gelek speaks during a press conference at his office in Dharamshala, India, on 9 November 2017.

Deputy President and Minister of Culture and Religion Karma Gelek speaks during a press conference at his office in Dharamshala, India, on 9 November 2017. Tibet Sun/Lobsang Wangyal

By Lobsang Wangyal

McLEOD GANJ, India, 9 November 2017

The Deputy President of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) Karma Gelek convened a press conference concerning the dismissal of the current Representative of the Dalai Lama to North America, but didn’t provide any information about it.

Kashag (the Exile Tibetan Cabinet) has asked Penpa Tsering to leave the post at the end of this month. The current Education Minister of CTA Ngodup Tsering will take charge in his place.

Gelek’s dissembling press conference created more confusion than clarity as to why Penpa Tsering has been relieved of his duties.

He said that Penpa Tsering had been served three warning notices asking him to mend his ways regarding the performance of his duties. He refused to give any details what the warnings were about, saying that it was an internal matter.

This reporter requested Gelek to take two questions, but he said that journalists were to ask only one question each, and that the press conference had to be finished in ten minutes.

As this story would remain incomplete without getting answers to the two questions, this reporter walked out to express dissatisfaction with Gelek’s overbearing manner.

On Tuesday CTA President Lobsang Sangay had no comments when journalists asked him questions after Penpa Tsering’s ouster was announced.

During the elections last year, differences between Lobsang Sangay and Penpa Tsering, the two contenders for the post of Sikyong (President of the Central Tibetan Administration), led to discord in the exile Tibetan community.

The Dalai Lama, who has retired as the political leader of exile Tibetans, but still remains as the head of state of the Tibetan people, gave a dressing-down to both the men for their aggressive election campaigning, causing disharmony in the exile Tibetan community.

It is believed that at the suggestion of the Dalai Lama, Lobsang Sangay appointed Penpa Tsering as the Representative of North America to pacify the divided exile Tibetan community.

It seems that Penpa Tsering has now been dismissed in a continuation of election grudges.

There are rumours on the Internet that Penpa Tsering faced this retribution after they engaged in a squabble during a meeting of the Representatives of the various Offices of Tibet after the 5/50 Conference in Dharamshala a month ago.

Penpa Tsering is said to have raised the issue at the meeting of a loan taken for purchase of a new building to house the Office of Tibet in Washington DC. A loan of 1.5 million dollars was taken from Tibet Fund is not being shown in any Office of Tibet’s records for remittance. The purchase was made during the term of Tsering’s predecessor Kaydor Aukatsang, who is a close friend of Sangay.

One of the questions this reporter intended to ask was concerning this issue.

There is growing call for the Kashag to reveal the reasons for Penpa Tsering’s dismissal. Due to the Kashag’s unaccountable behaviour, there are more questions than answers.

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