Archbishop Desmond Tutu has slammed the South African government after the Dalai Lama was forced to cancel an upcoming visit to the country. The Dalai Lama was due to attend Tutu’s 80th birthday celebrations, but had to pull out after he was not granted a visa in time.
In a stunning outburst that shocked many journalists, Tutu warned the ruling ANC that it was worse than the former apartheid government. And he compared the government unfavourably with the governments of Gaddafi in Libya and Mubarak in Egypt. Tutu’s comments amounted to a damning condemnation of Jacob Zuma’s government.
About 250 people joined a candlelit vigil earlier this week, calling for the Dalai Lama to be allowed to visit. Although no official reason has been given for the failure to grant a visa, critics of the government argue that pressure from China might have been responsible. But the government says the paperwork was submitted late and that they were still processing it when the Dalai Lama pulled out.