Dramas in exile Tibetan politics

Mila Rangzen

Mila Rangzen

By Mila Rangzen

NEW YORK, US, 27 July 2016

Splitting the Speaker responsibility in half

The splitting of an elected position’s term between two people is almost unheard of in democracies around the world, but we Tibetans are splitting the five-year Speaker term for the second time. In 2006 the speaker term was split between MP Penpa Tsering and late MP Karma Chophel. This time around it is split between MP Sonam Tenphel and MP Pema Jugney. This is ugly. Both the speakers are accountable only half the way, and both gain half-ass experience.

Besides, in such a scenario of vote tie, there is no law in the exile charter or in the electoral rule book to resolve the situation. Only a few more rounds of voting are conducted, with the same result of tie. Hence this practice of splitting the speaker responsibility into first half and second half is applied.

MP Tsering Youdon

This 22 MP vs 22 MP tie or draw issue could have been easily avoided if MP Tsering Youdon had showed up on the speaker voting day. But she did not. Of course, she had to attend her daughter’s graduation in the US and this is fine. But the graduation ceremony did not end on the day of speaker voting day. It ended long before the speaker election. But she showed up the very day after the election ended in a tie. I am relieved she was not struck by any natural disaster or some real tragedy which I had thought would be the cause for her not showing up on such an important political day. Usually she is a responsible MP.

In a small parliament like ours it’s not hard to find out who voted for whom. If she wanted to vote for MP Sonam Tenphel she should have done so if she thought he as an independence believer deep down could be more welcoming to Lukar Gem and the independence voice. She should have done so without feeling uncomfortable about being caught later over what camp she voted. MP Tsewang Rigzin voted Sonam Tenphel, not Pema Jugney who is a staunch Middle-Way supporter. He did it, even naively ignoring the provincial undertones in the selection process. Well, that’s his clear stand.

MP Pema Chazoetsang voted for Sonam Tenphel because she believes having the clergy in the political parliament or having a monk as a Speaker is unique to our democracy, implying that monks or the clergy are morally purer than lay folks. I absolutely reject this claim. But that’s for the next article.

Former Home Minister Gyari Doma

Sometime ago former Home Minister Gyari Doma made it clear she would not do a second term as a minister because that would deprive her of the opportunity to stand for Sikyong 2021. The exile charter does not allow a two-timer as minister to contest the Sikyong election.

Yes, she is standing for Sikyong 2021. And that is most welcome. But the greatest threat she sees is in the politician and statesperson of the one and only former MP Dhardon Sharling. The next election would decide a female Sikyong. Voters are getting tired of male domination for 60 years in exile political life.

Former MP Dhardon Sharling and the 2021 Sikyong

Besides being a woman, young, educated, confident, experienced, and dedicated, Dhardon commands a huge vote from Ngari, as she is from Ngari on her mother’s side. Ngari in exile is a substantial vote bank. Also Utsangs, regardless of what region in Utsang they belong to, are more than happy to vote for her as they are, among other great reasons, tired of Khampa hegemony and negative regionalism for the past 40 years. For the same reason Amdowas will follow suit.

Lobsang Sangay assured Dhardon he would handle the age issue if it popped up. It came so suddenly and unexpectedly from Lobsang Sangay, who only asked her what year she was born. And the next day Sikyong nominated her, and the Parliament including Speaker and Deputy speaker approved it. None of the MPs raised the age issue. But in two days Lobsang Sangay removed Dhardon from the said post like some vermin because of what he says is objections raised in the media.

Since when did the Cabinet listen to objections raised in the media? Objections were raised on the high-handedness of Dhasa on Radio Free Asia, VOA, and even on the Phayul news portal. Did Sikyong listen then? What about the name row for Lobsang Sangay himself? For ordinary Tibetans, a one-letter error in the name is a crime and you lose the prospect of getting a scholarship, IC, or election seat. “Lobsang Sangay” (his IC name) and “Lobsang Senge” are two different names in both meaning and pronunciation, besides being different in spelling. Did Dhasa apply the same standard? No. He used both names to win votes with arrogance and impunity. Welcome to the world of hypocrisy.

As soon as Dhardon was made to take the minister oath, the 11th position Utsang MP was moved in to take her spot. This MP is Lobsang Sangay’s brother-in-law.

In any country, for example USA, if any person has just turned 21 — meaning 20 years plus 1 or more days — is under the law 21 years of age and can vote, and buy cigarettes and hard drinks. Also the second item of article 21 of the exile charter clearly states minimum 35 years of age as the condition, which requirement she fulfills. She is 34 years and 9 months old or we can say she is 35 running.

The article does not state one should be 35 years and a day or more old. Nor does it demand the age completion of 12,776 days on earth. So to say she has not violated the age requirement law at all. She should be brought back to her position as minister with honour and a gala dinner either by this October or earlier when Dhardon hits 35 years and 1 day old.

Till then, stay tuned.

PS I urge MP Dawa Phunkyi not to propose or second a move against her nomination. Doing so not only will contradict all the support you gave her a few months ago but will also fragment our newly-gained solidarity when it is needed most.

About the author

Mila Rangzen is a US armed forces veteran serving the New York Community as an immigration translator. He can be reached at [email protected]

Copyright © 2016 Mila Rangzen Published in Tibet Sun Posted in Opinions » Tags: , , , ,