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Ruto agrees to change the name of October 10 holiday to Mazingira Day

President William Ruto, on April 24, 2024, assented to the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments Bill 2024) that saw 16 Acts of Parliament amended.

Sponsored by Kikuyu Member of Parliament Honorable Kimani Ichung’wah, who is also the Leader of Majority Party in the National Assembly, the Bill sought to amend several Acts of Parliament including the Public Holidays Act (Cap 110) and the Universities Act (Cap 210).

In the Public Holidays Act, President Ruto assented to the renaming of Utamaduni Day, held annually on October 10, to Mazingira day in “efforts towards environmental protection and conservation.

“The Bill amends the Public Holidays Act (Cap 110) to substitute Utamaduni Day as a public holiday to be observed on10th October every years. This seeks to to compliment government efforts towards environmental protection and conservation. The Mazingira Day shall therefore be a day for all Kenyans to participate in environment conservation activities including tree planting in line with the government’s efforts towards accelerating forest restoration and ensure that 15 billion trees are planted by 2032 in seeking to address climate change,” said Mr Ichung’wah in his submissions.

Utamaduni Day was first announced as a replacement of Moi Day, a public holiday that used to honor the late former president Daniel Arap Moi while he was still in power.

Utamaduni Day was then introduced to celebrate Kenya’s diverse culture and rich heritage. This will be the second time the October 10 public holiday gets a renaming. Mr Ichung’wah initially proposed the scrapping of Utamaduni Day in November 2023.

According to prior reports, the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry called on local and global partners to partner with them in raising Sh 500 billion to achieve their 15 billion trees by 2032 plan.

At the COP28 climate conference held in Dubai in December 2023, the ministry announced that the areas of partnership would include Kenya’s gazette forests, wetlands, grasslands, mountains and water towers as well as mangroves and coastal ecosystems.

The Ministry also plans to restore and conserve 10.6 million hectares of degraded landscapes and eco-systems to achieve at least 30% tree cover by 2032.

For the promotion of university education, President Ruto assented to amendments in the Universities Act (Cap 210) in which Mr Ichung’wah sought to have the establishment a specialized degree awarding institutions specializing in national security institutions.

“This shall promote university education for students wishing to pursue specialized degrees in national security issues,” said Mr Ichung’wah.

Additionally, The Bill amends the Universities Act to provide that the declaration of institutions as technical universities shall only apply to public universities that are or previously were a National Polytechnic or have the requisite facilities and human resource capacity for a technical university.

“This shall further ensure that technical universities have the requisite facilities and human resource capacity to train university students,” explained Mr Ichung’wah.