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Central African Republic 1976 Flag Project

Last modified: 2004-12-29 by zeljko heimer
Keywords: central african republic | crescent and star | bokassa | central african empire | french equatorial africa | libya |
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1976 Flag Project

[Central African Republic, 1976] [Proposal] 2:3
by Željko Heimer 15 April 2003

Description from image at Petr Exner's Czech vexillological pages: green field, yellow crescent and star in lower fly, yellow over white canton.
Olivier Touzeau, 13 February 2003

In summer 1976, during a visit to the country by president Ghadafi of Libya, the Central African president Jean Bedel Bokassa converted to Islam adopting the name of Salah el Din Ahmed. At the time a project was undertaken to devise a new national flag, probably arising from inner government circles to please Ghadafi. Even some media reported it as definitively adopted, but it seems that after obtaining some economic help from Ghadafi, the new flag project stopped, and some months later the republic was transformed into the Empire (December 1976) and the old flag confirmed.
Jaume OllÚ, 13 February 2003

Following the complete 1976-year Journal Officiel de la Republique Centrafricaine and I found out, that:

- It s true that on 1 September 1976 Bokassa went to Libya for celebrations marking the seventh anniversary of the coup that had brought Colonel Muammar Gadhaffi to power. Back home, on 4 September 1976, President Bokassa suppressed the Government and created a pro-libyan ruling body named Conseil de la Revolution Centrafricaine (Central African Revolution Council).

- On that same day, 4 September 1976, a 31-member Central African Revolution Council was formed by Bokassa. Bokassa himself following Gadhaffi's example gave up to most of his post and remained only as: For-Life-President of the Republic, For-Life-President of the MESAN (the sole political party), President of the Revolution Council and Supreme Chief of Central African Army.

- On 17 October 1976, Gadhaffi arrived in Bangui, and at the mosque at Kilométre 5 he looked on approvingly as Bokassa was officially initiated into Islam. The new convert was known as Salah Addin Ahmed Bou-Kassa, and it was announced that the national flag would thenceforth feature a crescent next to its star. Members of the Revolution Council were encouraged to follow the example of their president. A number of them refused, the Member of the Revolution Council in charge of the post of Prime Minister, Ange PatassÚ was among the converts and was henceforth known as Mustapha PatassÚ. On the afternoon of 18 October, Gadhaffi addressed to a large gathering at the Omnisports Stadium on his favourite theme that Christianity was the religion of imperialism while Islam was that of liberation. When Gadhaffi departed on 20 October, he left behind a number of agents to teach the converts their new religion.

- There were no further legal changes, and THE FLAG AND COAT OF ARMS WERE NOT ALTERED. I really think that there were no legal emblem changes because Bokassa wished to become a Monarch since May 1976, so he knew that legal emblem changes could not last more than a couple months.

- On 4 December 1976, a new Constitution was passed and the Central African Revolution Council was replaced by an Imperial Government. On that same day Gadhaffi's dream of an Islamic Revolution in Central African Republic came to an end. Bokassa was then proclaimed Emperor as Bokassa I. The new Constitution stated:

Art. 1. "... The emblem of Emperor Bokassa the First is the Eagle inside a Sun. ..."

Art. 3. "The emblem of the Central African Empire is the flag made of 4-horizontal strips (blue-white-green-yellow) crossed at right angles on its half by a same sized strip in red and in the inside-upper hoist there is a yellow five pointed star."

Article 3rd of the 4 December 1976 Constitution was only a copy of a former existing law on the flag.
Juan Fandos, 6 August 2003

It might be worth being noted that before being a fervent Muslim, Bokassa was a good Christian. His first name is Jean Bedel, which was derived from Jean B. de l., the short form for Jean Baptiste de la Salle used on a calendar. Being born on St. Jean B. de l.'s day, Bokassa was named Jean Bedel.
This and other picturesque details of Bokassa's life should not hide the crimes he committed against his people and the support he received from France - especially his shameful coronation ceremony.
Ivan Sache, 29 August 2003