Mozambique’s parliament has rejected an opposition attempt to get the image of a gun removed from the national flag.

Ruling Frelimo Party MPs said the time was not right to dump the machine-gun – a symbol of the war of independence.

“The national flag and emblem of the republic are historic references that we don’t want to abdicate,” Frelimo MP Hama Thay told Reuters news agency.
The flag has green, black, yellow and white horizontal stripes with an axe and machine-gun inside a red triangle. The flag was Frelimo’s party banner before being adopted as the national flag.

A bitter civil war which followed Mozambique’s independence ended in 1992, but there remains a good deal of ill feeling between Frelimo and Renamo, which has become the main opposition party.

Mozambique’s new constitution was adopted earlier this year. It called for a change of flag within the year, but Frelimo is not happy with any of the 169 alternatives proposed so far.