Malawi government has dismissed the campaign against the decision by the Indian government to erect a statue of Mahatma Ghandi in Blantyre, saying it was not spending a penny on its construction.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation spokesman Rejoice Chaponda Shumba said Malawi government accepted a request from Indian Government to construct the Mahatma Ghandi Square “in recognition of his contributions of the fight against colonialism and promotion of human rights and social development for the underprivileged.”
She said the bust will promote Ghandi’s values of simplicity, social uplifting and the fight against social evils.
However, Malawians are outraged by the proposed statue, calling Gandhi “an ardent racist” who had “nothing but contempt for the black African race.”
Malawian citizens Mpambira Kambewa, Mkotama Willie Katenga-Kaunda, and Wonderful Mkutche launched a change.org petition to garner support for their resistance to the statue.
The petition in part reads: “As black Africans-Malawians we will find it very offensive to appreciate the value of the statue when the man himself thought we were inferior. If you erect this statue it will make a mockery out of Malawi’s independence movement which fought to extricate ‘classism’ between black, brown and white races.”
One of the activists Mpambira Aubrey Kambewa described Ghandi as a racist who never fought for the freedom of black people in Africa.
“He is not supposed to be honoured,” said Kambewa.
But Shumba said the Ghandi bust in Blantyre will strengthen the good relations and benefits between Malawi and India.
India requires the statue as a condition for funding construction of the Mahatma Gandhi International Conference Centre, a $10 million (About K7.3 billion) infrastructure project which India is replicating in nine African countries.
The Gandhi centre will be constructed in Blantyre opposite Golden Peacock Five Star and International Convention Centre.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :