August 8, 2010

Malawi arrest warning over flying old flags

Malawi's government has warned anyone who displays the country's old national flag will face arrest and prosecution. The new flag features a full sun instead of the old flag's rising sun, to reflect Malawi's change from a developing to a developed nation. "We cannot permanently live in the past," President Bingu wa Mutharika said when it was launched. "The new flag depicts the status of our development."

Some opponents of the change have said the switch costs too much money. "We have to change everything that bears the old flag. We could have better usage for that money considering that this year some parts of Malawi will starve," a group of Catholic priests said in a statement. Others have criticized the change more directly, saying consultations on the issue were biased and that the issue should have been settled by referendum. The old flag was introduced by the Malawi Congress Party, led for decades by the late dictator Kamuzu Banda. Spokeswoman Nancy Tembo said the change was disrespectful to the nation's history which the flag had symbolised. (SADOCC)

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