NEW DELHI: India’s key Western African partner Ghana had softened its stand on Mahatma Gandhi statue that was removed last week from the University complex following protests and has agreed to reinstall statue at a key location in capital Accra.
The government in Ghana has also assured Delhi the statue will be inaugurated by a Minister in the local government, ET has learnt. “India and Ghana share special partnership since the days of decolonisation. Kwame Nkrumah, undisputed leader of Ghana, was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi. There were some voices in Ghana based on literature. But the Ghana government felt that the issue cannot be allowed derail partnership,” a person familiar with the matter indicated to ET.
The Ghana government, in this spirit, decided not only to reinstall statue at a key location but ensure that it is inaugurated by a Minister, pointed out the above quoted person.
Last Wednesday, the Gandhi statue at Ghana’s premier University was pulled down after petitions and agitations from sections of the University Community.
The incident in Ghana is significant in the backdrop of India’s widespread goodwill in Africa, ongoing infrastructure and capacity building projects amid Modi government’s push in the continent. Ghana is among top investment destinations for Indians in Africa and Accra has handled Chinese funds in a smart way reducing exposure to loans. India has helped to build Presidential place in Ghana as a landmark project. The Vice President of Ghana is expected to visit India early next year.
Some students and lecturers of the University had called for the removal of the statue because of Gandhi’s “racist identity”. An online petition was launched in 2016, and it garnered over 2,000 signatures after some students had earlier defaced the statue in protest.
Vice-Chairman of Ghana’s Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Kwaku Ampratwum Sarpong, last week had ruled out a diplomatic spat between India and his country following removal of Mahatma Gandhi’s statue installed at the University of Ghana in 2016.