Nairobi News


National holidays will from now be themed, President Ruto declares

By Wangu Kanuri December 6th, 2022 2 min read

Kenya’s national holidays will henceforth be themed, President William Ruto has said. Speaking during the official opening of the Kenya Innovation Week on Tuesday at the Sarit Expo Center in Nairobi, the Head of State said having themes for national holidays will come at an opportune time during the innovation and technology celebratory week.

“I made the decision Kenya national holidays are going to be themed going forward and we started at the right place at innovation and technology,” President Ruto said.

The announcement comes months following public concern over the difference between Huduma Day and Utamaduni Day (formerly Moi Day) which is celebrated on October 10th.

The confusion started when, the then outgoing Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i announced, through a gazette notice, that the day (Utamaduni Day) would be public holiday.

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“It is hereby notified that Monday, 10th October 2022 will be a public holiday (Utamaduni Day),” Dr Matiang’i said.

The debate intensified when some leaders, through their social media posts, wished Kenyans a happy Utamaduni Day while others referred to it as Huduma Day.

On December 19, 2019, the cabinet of former President Uhuru Kenyatta approved the renaming of Moi Day to Huduma Day, and also proposed to amend the Public Holidays Act (Cap 109), renaming Boxing Day, which falls on December 26, to Utamaduni Day.

The Cabinet changes were subject to approval by the Parliament though that was not done.

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Instead, in December 2020, MPs passed the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill, 2020 renaming Moi Day to Utamaduni Day.

“This was in line with the provision of Sections 2 and 4 of the Public Holidays Act (Cap 110). It is hereby confirmed that 11th October 2021 will be a Public Holiday, by dint of Utamaduni Day falling on Sunday 10th October 2021,” Dr Matiang’i said in 2021.

Additionally, in an open letter to the Cabinet Secretary for Youth affairs, Sports and the Arts, Ababu Namwamba, an art enthusiast, Sharon Zarita suggested that Utamaduni Day be moved from just an observant day to a day for nationwide display arts and culture.

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