Over 3,000 people have signed a petition opposing a planned statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Malawi’s commercial capital Blantyre, saying the Indian independence hero had done nothing for the southern African country.
Work on the statue began two months ago along a road named after Gandhi. The Malawi government says it is being erected as part of a deal that will see New Delhi construct a USD 10 million (8.6-million-euro) convention centre in Blantyre.
“Mahatma Gandhi has never contributed anything to Malawi’s struggle for independence and freedom,” a statement from the “Gandhi Must Fall” group said.
“We therefore, feel that the statue is being forced upon the people of Malawi and is the work of a foreign power aiming at promoting its image and dominion on the unsuspecting people of Malawi.”
The petitioners claim that Gandhi, who early in his career practised in South Africa and fought against apartheid-era segregation laws, was racist.
“We are not comfortable with imperialistic and neo-colonial ideologies that seek to impose… foreign influence which deprives us of honour,” Wonderful Mkutche, a member of the group told news agency AFP on Saturday.