Govt fails to vacate injunction against Gandhi statue

Gandhi statue

The High Court in Blantyre has upheld an injunction the Gandhi Must Fall Movement obtained against the erection of the Mahatma Gandhi statue.

Judge Mike Tembo made the ruling today in Blantyre.

The Movement obtained the court order saying Gandhi used racist terms to describe black people while in South Africa.

The first defendant Blantyre City Council and second defendant Attorney General sought to vacate the order saying the application for injunction failed to mention that Gandhi made the racist remarks before he became a Mahatma.

The council also argued that the erection of the statue will not change the status quo as the bust will be along a road already named Mahatma Gandhi and that the balance of justice lies in favour of discharging the injunction since there is a sizeable Indian community in the Blantyre.

On the first argument, the court noted that the Gandhi Must Fall Movement disclosed that the alleged racist remarks were made during colonial period in South Africa hence when the court granted the order it knew that Gandhi said the alleged racist remarks before he became a Mahatma.

The court was also not satisfied with the council’s argument that the statue will not be more injurious to the claimants because of the Mahatma Gandhi road saying the naming of the road and the statue are two different things.

“With regard to the road all you have is a signage stating the name of the road.
“With the statue, you have a bust of the subject of the statue. One would imagine that the statue would be more prominent and attract more attention as it imposes and projects itself onto the space it is located,” said Judge Tembo.

He added that the balance of convenience lies in upholding the court order given that the statue will be more imposing.

Tembo then ruled that the injunction should still stand until the judicial review of the decision of the council to allow the erection of the statue is determined.