Malawi's old flag to fly againBy REX CHIKOKO in Blantyre | Tuesday, May 29 2012 at 19:53
Malawi Members of Parliament have voted to revert to the country’s old flag, about 20 months after it was changed by the same House under President Bingu wa Mutharika.
The late Mutharika’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)-dominated Parliament changed Malawi’s old flag in black, red and green in that order, with a crescent red rising sun on the black, to a red, black and green with a white full sun in the middle.
However, after the death of Mr Mutharika, President Joyce Banda, during her maiden State of the Nation address in Parliament, said a Bill would be presented for the MPs to discuss whether the southern Africa country reverts to the independence flag or not.
On Monday, MPs overwhelmingly voted for the restoration of the old flag and chided DPP’s arrogance in changing it without proper consultations.
Leader of Government Business in Parliament Henry Phoya said there were not many consultations during the time the flag was being changed.
“It was clear that Malawians were not in agreement with the changing of the flag,” he said.
Leader of Opposition in Parliament John Tembo said he was pleased that the Bill to change the flag to the old one was presented in the House, saying the former ruling party did not consider the national heritage that the flag stood for.
“The old flag represents Malawians,” he said. “DPP changed the flag against the people’s will.”
However, debate rages among Malawians on whether the move was timely, considering that a lot of money would be used to revert to the old flag.
Executive Director for Malawi Watch Billy Banda said the change of flag, though necessary, was not generally important at this point as Malawians were still grappling with the raising costs of commodities.
“There are vehicle registration plates and licences which are supposed to be changed to accommodate the flag,” he said. “We appreciate that our old flag is back but financial implications were supposed to be considered as well.”
Mr Banda said what was more disheartening was that it was the same legislators who overwhelmingly voted for the change of the flag were now rooting for the restoration of old one.
“One starts doubting their credibility,” he said.
President Mutharika initiated the change of flag in 2010 when Malawi’s economy was said to be growing. He argued that the new flag would reflect the prospering Malawi since the old one reflected an underdeveloped country.
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Beyond the ballot