statue in Ghana
September 24, 2016
about the Gandhi statue is ongoing on the campus of
Legon University. Suddenly, we have found among us a crop of
brave, morally upright Ghanaians who can protest on
the appropriateness of a monument.
there are monuments around Accra that deserve our
attention, some very questionable.
So I commend our university Dons for
the thought or try. They
have been vocal enough to gain international
attention. The spirit is good enough to tempt
me to side with
them in their advocacy.
But before I do, I
must ask, must we be so chaste? If so, then I have the
that the Golden Palace, “politically” renamed Flag
Staff House, was completed eight years ago, with a grant (a gift) from the
Perhaps, we should
rethink about this gift. We must quickly save face with a move
Gandhi statue to a spot on the Palace grounds.
It can at least signal our gratitude to the Indian
can opt to lock
the Palace down from presidential or state use; as a sign of
regret of our penchant for accepting gifts,
especially one from the Indian government whose
national hero is Gandhi, the "racist."
Next, we place all Indians under
suspicion, together with their Gandhi, because they form part and parcel of the same
Then the final move, we ask our government to be
diplomatic and generous: Offer
to pay the
Indian government back the cost for building the
The Indian government
already knows we are broke. But who cares.
We always can
fall back on the good old ”judgment debt” payment method to appease people we owe (or do not owe).
We ought to
have warned the Indian government that they should
have expected this bad relationship coming because we just discovered that Gandhi
was a "racist." They should have known the
facts before dumping the statue on us!
That done, we
would only have accomplished a petulant act. The
question as to why we uprooted the statue would
documented to have said some menial things about
Africans. That said, it must also be made clear that the
statue is not meant to commemorate the "racist"
Gandhi, as some would prefer to think.
monument is set
commemorate the positive in
Gandhi - for inspiring "non-violence" in fights for
perspective, the protestors will have to reconsider
was also human, just like any xenophobic African in South
Africa or Ghana today.
Kick back to a few
decades and you could hear the nasty names we
called each other, from tribe to tribe and country to
country. We have even done our share of tribal or
ethnic cleansing in many places on the continent.
We have done far worse among ourselves than anything Gandhi could have envisioned for
called an insulting name is not a definition for racism. It may
be a point of insult or regard of low esteem. But
racism is something else. It is the power to control
the subject you have low esteem for. Gandhi had no
political power prior to his departure from South
Africa. He was also a victim of the same apartheid system.
Gandhi's way for
fighting freeedom was a historical epic, even
though his foremost concern at the time was for and
inspirational in his fight against colonialism. The
exemplary non-violent way he went about it is what
we are being asked to celebrate.
inspired many; Nkrumah for his Positive Action
stance and Martin Luther King used the approach for
the Civil Rights movement in the USA.
This brings us to
the essence of
monuments and why we need the right ones in our midst as means to
honor ourselves and the ideas we
appreciate most in others.
Because of his philosophy for non-violence, Gandhi
becomes an excellent candidate for a statue of Peace
everywhere, especially on university grounds where
the free flow of ideas must be encouraged.
Honoring Gandhi's non-violent
brand of politics is a necessity for Africa. Even with the negatives of his youthful
intemperate statements on the sideline, it
helps to tell the rest of the world that Ghanaians do not lack perspective
and context on this polemically charged issue.
by Gandhi, implied or said about the people before he
left South Africa in 1915, has no resonance on the
affairs of the world today, as his call for non-violent
approach to problem solving among people.
So, no need to package Gandhi
at this time with virulent racists;
Cecil Rhodes, Leopold of Belgium, Hendrik Verwoerd
or any other
arrant white supremacist of the past.
But I almost forgot the Kofi Annan ICT Center in
Accra, built in 2003 under President John Kufuor and
replete with assets to grow "
the country’ s ICT skills base..... the home of West
Africa’ s first supercomputer"
The above, an investment by the same Indian
Government, bears the name of Kofi Annan. Is
this a kind gesture of respect or the latter
is their hero too or both?
And, by the way, what do we do or have done for our
bona fide heroes?
earlier, the Dons on campus can go ahead and pull the statue
down. But they must, however, leave the spot empty
for a successor generation to put a plaque there
that says “Here
is where the
Gandhi statue should have stood.”
mind hearing a future sophomore on campus calling the current
effort going on there a hypocritical measure, signaling a
“superior” mentality on an issue that requires no
such moral posturing.
But I note the
audacity in the posture and would wish to direct
this to a monument more deserving of the angst.; the name Kotoka on the Accra International
The name is embarrassing. A
man through whom a regime change was accomplished
by others, unconstitutionally, does not deserve this honor. His
foolish act has proven to be the precursor of political
instability and setbacks for
Ghana since 1966.
Kotoka has no
honor anywhere in Africa or India. Try presenting any
university here or over there with a choice of a statue of
Nkrumah or Kotoka and see which one they will
However, I am not giving
the campus Dons any ideas. All I ask for is a shift
of the protest energy from Gandhi to Kotoka, since
the problem is the propriety of monuments!
E. Ablorh-Odjidja, Publisher
www.ghanadot.com, Washington, DC, Septemper 24, 2016.
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