Nairobi News

GeneralHashtagNewsWhat's Hot

No wearing of Kaunda suits in Parliament, Wetangula tells MPs

By Hilary Kimuyu November 29th, 2023 2 min read

Speaker of the National Assembly Moses Wetang’ula has banned Members of Parliament from wearing Kaunda suits in Parliament.

In a statement on Tuesday, Wetang’ula said he had referred to Rule 9 of the Speaker’s Rules, which outlines the dress code of MPs, and made the decision based on the emerging fashion trends that threatened the established parliamentary dress code.

“Going forward, therefore, any attire outside of what is prescribed in Rule 9 of the Speaker’s Rules is prohibited. This includes Kaunda suits, whether long or short-sleeved,” Wetang’ula said.

He added that lawmakers who wear the suits would henceforth not be allowed to access some sections of the premises, including the chamber, lounge, dining room or commute rooms, without proper attire.

According to the Speaker, the practice rightly does not accord with the seriousness of the proceedings of the House and its Committees.

Also read: Exclusive: Chipukeezy’s take on Ruto’s newly acquired taste for Kaunda suits

His predecessors had allowed MPs to wear Kaunda suits. Wetangula said the attire – also known as Mao Zedong coats – was not proper clothing for the House.

“My predecessors have had no issue with Kaunda suits…arising from emerging fashion trends that now threaten the establishment Parliamentary dress codes, it has become necessary for me to depart from what has been obtained regarding the admittance of Kaunda suits as appropriate dress,” he said.

According to Parliament rules of dressing, decent attire for men includes a coat, collar, tie, long-sleeve shirt, long trousers, socks, shoes or service uniform, while for women, business, formal or smart casual wear applies.

Recently, politicians have increasingly been turning out in Kaunda suits at public events, in a move many believe could be an imitation of President William Ruto’s latest dress code.

In the past few months, the Head of State, who is also the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party leader, has donned the Kaunda suits, a suit named after former Zambia President Kenneth Kaunda, now deceased, while attending local and international events.

Members, including Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo and former Kisumu Town West MP Olago Aluoch, are popularly known for donning the Kaunda suits.

First-term Mogotio lawmaker Reuben Kiborek has also taken up the style.

Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro, another close ally of the President, also wore a Kaunda suit when he accompanied the Head of State at a political event in Central Kenya.

The Kaunda suit originated in Australia in the 1970s, when a lawmaker felt it would be appropriate to wear it to a federal parliament in the north of the country.

It is not uncommon for Kenyan leaders to have signature looks, with former President Uhuru Kenyatta known for his penchant for locally made African print shirts supplied by Rivatex and Kibaki rarely straying from the business suit.