So the Catholic Church and the Malawian president are facing off over... a flag.
The president recently decided to change the flag, without much consultation, according to available reports. The old flag has black, red and green horizontal bands, with a red half-sun rising from the center of the flag. The new flag has red, black and green horizontal bands -- did you get that little shift there? -- and a white sun, whole, smack in the center. Get it? The sun has risen? Or, as the president put it, "We cannot permanently live in the past....The new flag depicts the status of our development."
That's right, Malawi is developed! Did you miss the memo? Or were you distracted by Malawi's ranking as the 16th least developed country in the world in UN's Human Development Index released last week?
The country's bishops have come out against the flag, which they say is an expensive distraction from pressing public issues. They also object that the president didn't consult people adequately -- although there was an expensive campaign to convince villagers to accept the new flag.
Speaking of consultations, the other thing the bishops don't like? The president's apparently unilateral decision to delay municipal elections, now slated for 2011, according to the Southern Times.