India’s vice president Vankai Naido is scheduled to visit Malawi from November 4 to 5 when, among other engagements, he is expected to unveil the controversial Mahatma Ghandi statue in Blantyre.
Foreign Affairs ministry of India says Naido is also expected to unveil a business centre in Blantyre before flying to Zimbabwe and Botswana.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ministry of Information Lilongwe and Blantyre City Council officials remained mum on whether the Indian vice president would unveil the statue following a court injunction obtained by ‘Ghandi must fall’ campaign movement.
The High Court in Blantyre has since set November 12 for interparte hearing of the court injunction.
Two individuals—Pemphero Mphande and Mkotama Katenga-Kaunda—obtained the order against BCC, the Attorney General (on behalf of Ministry of Information and Communications Technology) and the contractor, Plem Construction.
In his sworn affidavit, Mphande argued that Gandhi made remarks that Indians were superior to black people, among others.
The government has since stopped the construction of the statue which raised eye-brows and anger among some section of society which say Ghandi has no place in Malawi history.
“We will fight the construction of the statue in the court. We are also planning to petition the Blantyre City Council on the matter. We don’t want this statue. Ghandi has no place in our history, Ghandi was racist who labeled Africans as savages. He only fought for the independence of India,” said Mphande.
But in earlier interviews, Minister of Information Nicholas Dausi said the Malawi government was not spending any money on the statue, saying the resources came from India to construct the statue and a conference centre.
He described Ghandi as a man of high integrity and respected all over the world, saying this was reason enough to have his statue in the commercial city of Blantyre.