Ghanaian officials say they plan to remove a statue of Mahatma Gandhi that’s been at the center of protests at the University of Ghana.
The statue will be moved “to ensure its safety and to avoid the controversy on the Legon Campus,” the government said in a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Regional Integration.
Professors at the university, joined by students and community activists, petitioned for the statue to come down after charging that the Indian social activist’s own writings confirmed his racist views.
The statue of Mahatma Gandhi was unveiled by Indian President Shri Prenab Mukhereje during a state visit to Ghana in June. The decision to relocate the statue follows months of petitions and protests.
“In a global interconnected world where conversations that take place on social media are shared in real time, there is the potential to create disaffection not only at the level of government relations, but also between people not only in our country but all over the world,” the government explained.
Ghana affirmed its long and cordial relationship with India in the announcement, while asking Ghanaians to take a balanced and contextual view of Gandhi and his contributions to humanity.
“While acknowledging that human as he was, Mahatma Gandhi may have had his flaws, we must remember that people evolve,” the statement said. “He inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world.”
Similar calls to remove Gandhi statues have occurred in the United States, where protesters recently gathered in California, as well as in South Africa.
The anti-Gandhi sentiment has prompted Ela Gandhi, his granddaughter and a former member of South African parliament, to defend his contributions and ask that the values for which he died be the priority.
Gandhi, who attended her grandfather’s birthday observance in Durban last weekend, said the message of nonviolence and passive resistance remains important to the world.
Image: University of Ghana