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Central African Republic - 1976 Flag Project

Last modified: 2018-12-26 by bruce berry
Keywords: central african republic | crescent and star | bokassa | central african empire | french equatorial africa | libya |
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1976 Flag Project

[Proposal] 2:3.  Image by Željko Heimer 15 April 2003

In the summer of 1976, during a visit to the Central African Republic (CAR) by President Muammar Muhammad al-Gaddafi of Libya, the CAR President Jean Bedel Bokassa converted to Islam and adopted 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 Gaddafi.  Some media reported the new flag as being adopted, but it seems that after obtaining some economic help from Gaddafi, the new flag project stopped and some months later the Central African Empire (December 1976) came into being and the existing national flag was confirmed.
Jaume OllÚ, 13 Feb 2003

This description is from an 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 the 1976-year Journal Officiel de la Republique Centrafricaine and I found the following:

- It is true that on 01 September 1976 Bokassa went to Libya for celebrations marking the seventh anniversary of the coup that had brought Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to power.  Back home, on 04 September 1976, President Bokassa suppressed the Government and created a pro-Libyan ruling body named the Conseil de la Revolution Centrafricaine (Central African Revolution Council).

- On that same day, 04 September 1976, a 31-member Central African Revolution Council was formed by Bokassa.  Bokassa, following Gaddafi's example, gave up to most of his posts and remained only as the 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, Gaddafi 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 although 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, Gaddafi 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 Gaddafi departed on 20 October, he left behind a number of agents to teach the converts about 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 04 December 1976, a new Constitution was passed and the Central African Revolution Council was replaced by an Imperial Government and the Central African Empire came into being.  On that same day Gaddafi's dream of an Islamic Revolution in the 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 I is the Eagle inside a Sun. ..."

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

Article 3 of the 04 December 1976 Constitution was just a copy of the existing law on the flag.
Juan Fandos, 06 Aug 2003

It might be worth being noted that before becoming  a Muslim, Bokassa was a 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 Aug 2003