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Kenya Bans Wearing of Traditional  African Attire in Parliament

The speaker said the ban was because the new fashion trend threatened the established parliamentary dress code.

Kenya’s parliament has banned the wearing of a suit called the Kaunda suit which was named after the late Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda, within the building.

The Speaker of Parliament, Moses Wetangula said Kaunda suits, as well as traditional African clothes, were not welcome.

The Kenyan President William Ruto often wears them on official occasions and has made the Kaunda suit, a safari jacket with matching trousers, popular with the political class.

Ruto has worn the suit which is worn without a tie, sometimes with a short upturned collar.

Earlier in the week, the speaker of the National Assembly of Kenya, Moses Wetangula said his decision to ban the suit was due to emerging fashion trends that threatened the established parliamentary dress code.

He noted that a proper dress code for men “means a coat, a collar, a tie, long-sleeved shirt, long trousers, socks, shoes, or service uniform”.

“For ladies, business, formal, or smart casual wear applies. Skirts and dresses should be below knee-length and decent. Sleeveless blouses are prohibited,” he said.

The Kaunda suit has been allowed previously in parliament and some MPs have been known for often wearing them.

Wetangula acknowledged that these suits had been “somehow tolerated” in the past but that it was now time to stop that amid a threat to the parliamentary dress code.

The Kaunda suit has trended on social media in Kenya in recent times, after Ruto started wearing them on official occasions.

The banning of the suit has elicited mixed reactions on social media, with some wondering why “African attire” would be banned by an African parliament, while others supported it.

Some have also mocked the ban, saying the Kaunda suit would now be reserved for the president.

“Just when you think you’ve seen it all… I guess the Kaunda suits have now been reserved for [the president],” said a social media user on X.

Chioma Kalu

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