By Tenzin Dharpo
Acting President of CTA, Ven. Karma Gelek Yuthok at the media briefing at Gangchen Kyishong on Nov. 9, 2017. Phayul photo.
DHARAMSHALA, Nov. 9: President Lobsang Sangay led Kashag (Cabinet) of the exile Tibetan government (Central Tibetan Administration) today said that the ousting of North America Representative Penpa Tsering was solely due to his failure to assume his duties appropriately and in the manner befitting of the office, as seen by the Kashag. Tsering will hold the position until Nov.30 and will be replaced by Education Minister Ngodup Tsering.
CTA Minister for Religion and Culture Ven. Karma Gelek Yuthok who is the acting President told the media that the decisions taken by the Kashag was as per the Tibetan charter and in accordance with any binding rules and regulations. He said, “Since his (Penpa Tsering) appointment, the Kashag on three occasions expressed its dissatisfaction with the way he conducted his duty as the representative there (Washington DC office). The Kashag has sent three directives/advisory letters before sending the termination notice for his role as the rep. of North America.”
“The Kashag took this step as there was no improvement in the situation despite the letters. Since, the Washington DC is one of the most important offices of the CTA, the representative in that office must adhere to a certain level of conduct and meet the expectations and trust of the Kashag,” he further added. However, he refused to reveal what were the details that caused “dissatisfaction” to the Kashag saying that it is an “internal matter” that does not require to be made public.
Penpa Tsering in an interview with Voice of America said he received a letter prior to his termination letter but did not get any opportunity to explain his case. “I received the termination letter a day before the official notice that mentioned Education Minister Ngodup Tsering will be replacing me.”
Following the official notice on Tuesday (Nov.7), the incident has since sparked debates and discussions within the Tibetan diaspora with some saying the mood was akin to the campaign season disarray that was witnessed last year in the run up to the Tibetan general elections.
Jigme Ugen, a Tibetan activist and American union leader based in the United States told Phayul, “Nobody needs to re-live the outrageous political division and communal chaos we experienced then. Personally, I cannot comment on the Kashag’s decision, but I remain largely uncomfortable by the under-handedness and borderline-disrespectful approach to a publicized termination of a long serving and reputed political leader from his employment status.”
“The excessive suspense and the secrecy created by the Kashag around the termination of Penpa Tsering la is extremely unhealthy for the community, and it’s clearly opening up old wounds and giving rise to unsettled tensions rooting back to the Sikyong’s election,” he lamented.