Malawi: Indian High Commission Refuses to Receive Petition Over Ghandi Statue

1 November 2019

Anti-Mahatma Ghandi statue activists on Friday left the Indian High Commission disappointed after officials refused to receive their petition.

Citizens for Progressive Action are currently holding a vigil at the Indian High Commission offices in Lilongwe protesting against the construction of a Mahatma Gandhi statue

anywhere in Malawi.

A group of people calling themselves Citizens for Progressive Action held a vigil at the Indian High Commission offices in Lilongwe to protest against the Indian government decision to erect a statue of Mahatma Ghandi, a freedom fighter but whom the group describes as racist towards blacks.

The group's spokesperson Pemphero Mphande said the commission refused to open its doors for the group.

He said instead, the youthful activists will deliver the petition at the Lilongwe Civic Offices.

"Our message is clear that we don't want any Ghandi statue in Malawi because he contributed nothing to our country.

"If we have more space, let us honour our own heroes," said Mphande.

The group held the vigil since morning, chanting anti-Ghandi songs whilst carrying anti-Ghandi messages on placards.

Jimmy Kainja an academic at Chancellor College says Malawians who have done tremendous work deserve a statue, but not an outsider like Gandhi.

"I don't think as a country, Gandhi has any stake in us - you could extend that to Africa," says Kainja. "Gandhi may be seen as a hero from a different perspective but not from Africa and the black African perspective."

Kainja actually says that many young people throughout Africa are starting to question historical events.

"Several African governments have faced the pressure from young groups of activists who begin to re-read or understand history from a different perspective," Kainja explains.

Richard Mathankie, a student of communication and cultural studies at the same University of Malawi believes that thegovernment should have taken a stronger stance.

"As a country we have the power to say no," Mathakie says. "If we say yes, it will be like we are just receiving anything without thinking of what will be the negative impact."

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