Since the statue was unveiled in 2016, it has become a focus for controversy as there are claims that the Indian leader was racist towards black South Africans.

Global peace icon, Mahatma Gandhi, might be remembered in many parts of the world for his non-violent resistance to British colonial rule, but in Africa, his legacy is a bit more controversial.

In June 2016, the former president of India, Pranab Mukherjee, unveiled the statue of Gandhi as a symbol of close diplomatic ties, on the campus of Ghana's most prestigious university, the University of Ghana campus. However, some months later, a group of academics and students began a petition calling for the removal of the statue. They called the global peace icon racist and cited passages by Gandhi claiming Indians were "infinitely superior" to black Africans.

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The petition urged the university to put African heroes and heroines “first and foremost” and that “it is better to stand up for our dignity than to kowtow to the wishes of a burgeoning Eurasian super power”.

In September 2016 when the online protest commenced, it acquired 1000 signatures and a promise by the former government to relocate the statue "to avoid the controversy... becoming a distraction from our strong ties of friendship" with India.

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However, it was only in 2018, two years later, that the university authorities decided to take action and removed the controversial statue overnight Tuesday to Wednesday, leaving only the empty plinth.

Students and lecturers at the school have said that it is "long overdue" and that is "it's a massive win for Ghanaians". The university authorities refused to comment while an official at Ghana's foreign affairs ministry said only: "It's an internal decision by the university."

When Gandhi lived and worked as a lawyer in South Africa from 1893 to 1915, his early writings referred to black South Africans as “kaffirs” – a highly offensive racist slur – and complained that the South African government wanted to “drag down” Indians to the same level as people he called “half-heathen natives”.

He wrote: “Ours is one continual struggle against a degradation sought to be inflicted upon us by the Europeans, who desire to degrade us to the level of the raw kaffir whose occupation is hunting, and whose sole ambition is to collect a certain number of cattle to buy a wife with and then pass his life in indolence and nakedness.”

In the same vein, campaigners in Malawi are currently trying to stop a statue of Gandhi going up in the capital Blantyre, using the same arguments.