Malawians Protest Statue of ‘Racist’ Gandhi

Activists in Malawi are protesting construction of a statue of India’s independence leader Mahatma Gandhi. The statue in the commercial capital Blantyre is being erected as part of a deal for India to construct a $10 million convention center. A group of protesters says the statue is an insult to Malawians and Africa because of racial slurs Ghandi made as a young man.

An online campaign in Malawi has collected nearly 4,000 signatures against erecting a statue of India’s independence leader Mahatma Gandhi.

Mpambira Aubrey Kambewa, an organizer of the Gandhi Must Fall campaign, said Malawians should not honor Gandhi because of racial slurs.

This also draws back from the time he was in South Africa, when he was an activist, where he based his fight for the rights of Indians based on discrimination of black people. He alluded to the fact that Indians are racially superior to black people, said Kambewa.

Gandhi’s racial slights were documented in letters the Indian leader wrote as a young man while living in South Africa in the late 1800s.

In the letters, Gandhi referred to African savages and kaffirs, an insulting term for black Africans, when comparing them with the Indian population.

Gandhi’s relatives and supporters note the comments were common parlance at the time and that he made no similar slurs in later life.

Malawi government spokesperson Nicholas Dausi said he does not believe that Gandhi was a racist.

There is no issue here. This just a storm in a tea cup. It is just being perpetrated by bad people. It is just drawn out of proportion. I don’t think we should have such kind of behavior but, the government will proceed, he said.

Malawi’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs says the Gandhi statue aims to recognize his role in the struggle against colonialism.

Gandhi’s non-violent fight against British rule in India inspired numerous independence and civil rights movements and leaders across the globe – from Martin Luther King in the United States to Nelson Mandela’s struggle against South African apartheid.

Rafik Hajat is the executive director of the Blantyre think tank Institute for Policy Interaction.

He argued the Malawi government should admit Gandhi had racist views in his 20s but abandoned them in his 40s in the struggle for civil rights.

I think one has to shed the love light on the subject before proceeding. Because, otherwise, the philosophy of nonviolent resistance that Mahatma Gandhi embodied will be lost, said Hajat.

Construction of Malawi’s Gandhi monument began in August on a street already named after the Indian leader.

Along with the statue, the Indian government is building the Mahatma Gandhi Convention Center in Blantyre � a win for Malawi’s economy.

On the streets, Malawians have divided views on the Gandhi monument.

Rachel Misoya sells second-hand clothes.

We have countries like America, Britain and we have some Malawians who done great jobs to this country – why not respecting them? We are respecting someone who just did something little to the country, said Misoya.

Grey Massa is a resident of Chimwankhunda township.

Whether people think Mahatma Gandhi is a racist or not is just an opinion, which each one can have. People can choose to erect statues anywhere as far as it is in according with [the] law of that land, said Massa.

It is not the first time an African monument to Gandhi has been met with protest because of his early views on race.

There was a similar uproar in 2003 against a Gandhi statue in Johannesburg.

In Ghana, a statue of Gandhi in 2016 was relocated off a university campus after professors petitioned against the monument. They said African heroes should be honored first.

Source: Voice of America

Entrepreneurial skills, key to poverty reduction in Ghana

Accra� MrBayon Godfrey Tangu, the Member of Parliament for Wa East, as reiterated the need to restructure schools’ curricula to include entrepreneurial skills training to reduce extreme poverty in Ghana.

He said most of the things in the current schools’ curricula were not geared towards poverty reduction.

MrTangu, who is also the Chairman of Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy Committee, said there was the need to train school children in entrepreneurial skills to empower them to be self-reliant after their education.

MrTangu was speaking at a day’s Multi stakeholder Conference on Pro-Poor Intervention Financing, organised by SEND-Ghana, under its Addressing Inequality Through Pro-Poor Budget Advocacy (AIPBA) Project to discuss interventions that are geared towards poverty reduction in the country.

The MP called for redefinition of the agricultural system to bring the majority of the people in that sector out of poverty.

We also need to review our tax system to relieve the poor in our society. As a country, we should be able to tax the rich to take care of the poor. Collectively, we should all be fighting poverty, which has become a social problem, he said.

He said many countries, including China, were able to reduce the poverty rate in their countries and Ghana too could do same.

Mr Anthony Krakah, the Head of Industrial Statistics, Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), presenting Ghana’s Poverty Profile � GLSS R7 said the Report indicates that out of every 100 persons living in Ghana, at least eight of them are extremely poor.

He said over the years, growth had become pro-poor in the country and poverty was still a rural phenomenon.

Rural Savannah still ranks highest in poverty rates among all the ecological zones. 26 per cent of all poor people in Ghana are in the three northern regions, contributing more than 40 per cent to national poverty, he said, and called for concrete measures to assist the people there to come out of extreme poverty.

MrKakrah said the Report showed a rise in inequality as a result of discrimination in welfare at the regional level and called for implementation of policies and programmes that would bridge the gap between the rich and the poor.

Mr Thomas BoatengQuaison, the Head of Monitoring and Evaluation, Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP), at the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, said the Ministry was collaborating with all other interventions to improve the poverty status of people benefiting from the programme.

He said currently about 400,000 households were benefitting from the LEAP programme and they depended largely on the GLSS Report to do their targeting for the programme.

Mr George Osei-Bimpeh, the Country Director of SEND-Ghana, said few years back, they had partnered FORD Foundation to address inequality and reduction of poverty.

The Conference, therefore, is to provide the Ministry of Finance the opportunity to respond to how it is addressing issues raised in the GLSS Report.

He said SEND-Ghana went round the country to collate inputs from the people and had submitted the Report to Parliament for action.

He said SEND-Ghana would continue the fight until the battle against poverty is won adding; I hope 2019 will address some of the problems to harness welfare distribution across the country.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Top boxing pundit backs referee Bertin

Accra� Mr. Mohammed Amin Lamptey, a top boxing pundit and a ring announcer, has backed the decision of Beninnoise referee Adorn Bertin, for hurriedly waving off the fight between Isaac Sackey and Wasiru Mohamed, in the World Boxing Organisation (WBO) Africa Super Bantamweight fight last Saturday.

Referee Bertin stopped the fight in round three, after Mohamed delivered a hefty hook on the left jaw of Sackey, which sent him straight onto the canvas.

Though Sackey, within seconds lifted himself from the canvas, the referee waived off the fight signifying victory for Mohamed and this attracted the fury of the fans of the former.

It was chaotic at the Bukom Boxing Arena, with supporters of both camps trading punches, hitting each other with chairs and engaging in fisticuffs, leading to the inability on the referee to the official declaration of the champion.

According to Mr. Amin Lamptey, the decision of the referee did not in any contradict the rules saying referees have the power to use their discretion in such circumstances.

In arriving at such a crucial decision, the referee looks at your eyes and physical condition and I’m sure he being the closest person realised Sackey was not good enough to continue the fight.

This is not the first time a referee has taken such a decision in boxing. It happens all the time. There have been circumstances, where there were no mandatory counts.

The referees used their discretion all the time. This is because they also have the mandate to protect the life of boxers. They cannot allow boxers to be beaten to pulp in the ring when they can easily save them, he added.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Felling of trees must stop to avoid climate change – NADMO

Nyakrom (C/R)� The Agona West Municipal Directorate of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) has marked the World Disaster Day with a call on the citizenry to stop felling of trees to avoid climate change.

It also cautioned the public, especially estate developers to desist from putting up buildings on waterways, to prevent flooding and disasters.

The week-long celebrations, took officials of the Directorate to churches, mosques, market places, schools, keep fit clubs, civic organisations, driver’s unions and students bodies to sensitise them on the need to prevent disasters.

Mrs Justina Marigold Assan, the Agona West Municipal Chief Executive expressed regret over the alarming rate at which trees were being fell illegally and affecting the environment.

She said the illegal activities of some unscrupulous people were posing serious threat to the virgin forests, which could lead to climate change and affect the rainfall pattern of the country.

The painful aspects of it is that these people are only interested in making money at the expense of the State and they have wilfully refused to plant trees to replace those that they cut down, she said.

Mrs Assan said the Agona West Municipal Assembly would collaborate with the Forestry Commission to nurse over 5,000 different species of trees to be distributed to schools and organisations for replanting along roadsides, public spaces and campuses to serve as windbreaks to reduce the occurrence of disaster.

She urged estate developers in the municipality to seek directives from the Works Department of the Assembly to avoid building on waterways and that the authorities of the Assembly would not tolerate such acts.

The Chief Executive disclosed that the Assembly had set up a taskforce to deal with people who put up structures without permits, to prevent haphazard construction of buildings.

Mrs Assan also hinted that the Assembly bye-laws had been gazetted and that any sanitary offender caught, would be dealt with and that the laws also give the chiefs and elders in the communities power to check school children who are seen in public in the night after 2000 hours.

She said the Assembly was assisting landlords with building materials and technical advice to get household toilets to ease the pressure on public toilets.

Ms Betty Adwoa Nyantakyiwaa Kwaako, the Agona West Municipal Director of NADMO educated students and parents on the proper usage of gas cylinder to avoid fire disaster.

She entreated the citizenry to desist from dumping refuse into gutters, which she said caused flood and disaster whenever it rained and that prevention was far better than receiving relief support.

Nana Appoh III, the Benkumhene of Agona Nyakrom Traditional Council appealed to officials of NADMO and district, municipal and metropolitan chief executives to ensure that relief items reached the rightful disaster victims.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Youth asked to chart new path towards national growth and stability

Accra, Dr. Ezanetor Rawlings, Member of Parliament for the Klottey-Korley Constituency in the Greater Accra Region, has urged the youth to strive to chart a new path of sincere dedication, towards the country’s progress.

“Be brave enough, stand as a group and say we are not going down this path. We are going to do the right thing and change the scope of politics.”

Dr. Rawlings, said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra, after she received the Eighth Young Role Model in Politics and Governance award, at the Young Professionals Transformational Leadership Conference and Young Professionals Role Model Award 2017, at the Accra International Conference Centre.

This year’s conference was under the theme, “Mentoring Africa’s Young Leaders for Africa’s Transformation.”

She said currently, excessive partisan behaviour “is dividing us as a society. We are not doing things that are right and we are not shunning the wrong things because we say it is politics”.

The Klottey-Korley Constituency MP, said retrogressive behaviour, such as the use of abusive language on our airwaves, and the encouragement of corrupt and improper practices in the name of politics had to be brought to an end, for the sake of the nation’s growth.

“If we use partisanship and politics to destroy our society instead of building it, then we are in effect, failing,” she observed.

Dr. Rawlings said one group of people that held hope for the country’s progress and turn over towards the right path for sustainable growth was the youth.

“The youth are numerous and can put their numbers to good use,” the MP observed.

Dr. Rawlings, urged young people to first strive for success through honest labour, and move away from the get ‘rich quick’ attitude which did not attract true prosperity.

“Do it the proper way and in turn ensure, that those in governance would also do the right thing,” she said.

Dr. Rawlings observed that the nation’s progress and stability would be much more certain and definite, once the youth, became zealous and honest watchdogs of the society.

Mr. Andy Osei Okrah, President of the Young Professionals and Youth Coalition (YPYC), organisers of the programme, said after several years of independence, there was an urgent need, to accelerate the nation’s socio-economic development.

He said it was unfortunate to observe, that whilst Africa was largely portrayed as a continent be-devilled with lack, “it is sad to realise that some continental challenges are self-induced.”

Mr. Okrah said for a continent, which was naturally endowed with resources and an equal measure of human capital, it was possible to foster progress and growth.

“Africa would certainly be better if we did some introspection, in a bold attempt to re-write our history, “he noted, adding, “perhaps Africa’s legal and governance regulatory frame-work, regarding innovation, leadership and entrepreneurship, needs an overhaul.”

The YPYC is a network of young professionals and youth, who seek to connect and engage in discussions relevant to leadership, entrepreneurship and professional enhancement towards leadership.

The YPRM Award is an annual leadership excellence award to recognise individuals and organisations who demonstrate superior leadership, both personally and professionally, towards youth and national development.

Source: Ghana News Agency