- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy
Malawi is changing its flag for the second time in two years, reverting to the rising red sun it used from independence in 1964 until 2010, when it was changed by the late President Bingu wa Mutharika:
The flag’s image of a red rising sun was replaced with a full white sun to signify Malawi fulfilling its promise on development.
Mutharika, who held power for eight years and died in April aged 78 from a heart attack, had claimed the country could not continue “to be at dawn in 2010 as we were in 1964 … we don’t have to live permanently in the past”.
“A flag has got a very fundamental significance,” Justice Minister Ralph Kasambara told the BBC’s Focus on Africa programme. “The flag is part of our association with the independence struggle, the history of the country,” he said.
He condemned Mr Mutharika’s justification for changing the flag, adding that it was “absurd” to say Malawi was a prosperous country.
Mutharika’s flag change cost one of the world’s poorest countries over $10 million, according to local press accounts quoted by the Guardian. At least they’ll have it changed back in time for the Olympics.
(On a side note, if you need to waste some time, I highly recommend Josh Parsons’ obsessive compulsive rating of the world’s flags. Malawi — the red sun version — gets a “B” losing points for “bad colors.” If that sounds harsh, you should see his rating for Northern Mariana.)