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Gandhi statue sparks outcry in Malawi

October 14, 2018

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BLANTYRE: 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 $10 million 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.

The petitioners claim that Gandhi, who early in his career practised in South Africa and fought against apartheid-era segregation laws, was racist.

But Isaac Munlo, Principal Secretary in the foreign ministry, defended the project saying: “It should be recognised that Mahatma Gandhi promoted values of simplicity, fight against social evils, promoting human and civil rights as well as uplifting of social well-being of people.

Malawi and India established diplomatic ties in 1964 and New Delhi is one of the country’s biggest donors.

Published in Dawn, October 14th, 2018