Kenyan Lawmakers Can Wear Traditional Attires In Chamber, Says Senate Speaker

Kenneth Lusaka, the Speaker of the Kenyan Senate, has approved cultural wears for lawmakers in the East African country.

Lusaka approved the donning of traditional attire for members of the parliament after Narok Senator Ledama Ole Kina from the Maasai community wore a red beaded shuka (wrapper) during proceedings.

The red beaded shuka is globally identified with the Maasai.

Senators, both male and female, were previously only allowed into the chambers while dressed formally or in service uniforms, religious attires or any other attire approved from time to time.

Ole Kina caused a stir with his clothing, prompting Wajir Senator Abdullahi Ibrahim to seek Speaker Lusaka’s direction on whether the lawmaker was properly dressed.

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Citing Rule 5 of the Speakers Rules and Articles 11 of the Constitution, Lusaka declared Maasai Regalia as the cultural dress that is acceptable in the Chamber, in a landmark ruling.

“Maasai dress is one of the most well known and recognised cultural heritages of Kenya and is globally synonymous with Kenya and it would be absurd if we as a people do not take pride in and celebrate it,” he stated.

And he went on to explain, “We all know that we represent our counties and every county has its own cultural dressing. Narok and Kajiado have their cultural dressing which is recognised world over. So, it will be unfortunate for me to order him out of the house.”

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According to Parliament’s Standing Orders on dressing code, members, press officers, and guests are not allowed in the chamber, lounges, dining or committee rooms without being properly dressed.

“Proper dress code in the case refers to putting on a coat, tie, long-sleeved shirt, long trousers, socks and shoes or service uniform for men and decent formal or business wear for women,” the guidelines state.

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