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Ghana varsity to remove Gandhi statue; terms him ‘racist’

A group of professors has launched a petition claiming the leader of India's independence movement was racist

Ghana is reportedly planning to remove a Mahatma Gandhi statue from a university, after a group of professors launched a petition claiming the leader of India’s independence movement was racist.

In September this year, a group of professors in the University of Ghana started a petition demanding the removal of the statue, claiming Mahatma Gandhi was racist and demanded a replacement with African heroes and heroines.

The petition stated that “it is better to stand up for our dignity than to kowtow to the wishes of a burgeoning Eurasian super power”.

The statue was unveiled by Pranab Mukherjee, the president of India, in June this year to mark the strong bilateral ties between the countries.

Meanwhile, Ghana’s foreign ministry said the government would take actions to relocate the statue.

The foreign ministry stated: “The government would, therefore, want to relocate the statue from the University of Ghana to ensure its safety and to avoid the controversy. While acknowledging that, human as he was, Mahatma Gandhi may have had his flaws, we must remember that people evolve.”

The minister also expressed its concern the act by protesters could harm the country’s relationship with India.

However, criticising the government’s decision, Obadele Kambon, one of the protesters, argued to send the statue back to India. “We don’t think the statue would be well received anywhere in Ghana,” he said.

According to reports, more than 1,200 people have signed a petition.

The protesters at the University of Ghana have likened their act to the #RhodesMustFall movement, which demanded the call for the removal of a Cecil Rhodes statue across the world.

According to a report in The Guardian, opponents of the statue in Ghana quoted several of Gandhi’s early writings in which he referred to black South Africans as “kaffirs” – a highly offensive racist slur – and complained that the South African government wanted to “drag down” Indians to the same level as people he called “half-heathen natives”.

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