Kenya bans Kaunda suit, African traditional wear in parliament

Kenya President Willian Ruto with Cabinet Secretaries, Council of Governors Chairperson - Copyright © africanews via @WilliamsRuto

Nairobi, (KE): Kenya’s parliament has instituted a ban on the iconic Kaunda suit, named after the late Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda, and traditional African attire within its premises.

Speaker of Parliament Moses Wetangula revealed this saying the two (Kaunda and Traditional African wear) were no longer permissible in the Kenyan parliament with immediate effect.

Speaker Wetangula attributed the ban to emerging fashion trends that posed a challenge to the established parliamentary dress code.

He emphasized a prescribed dress code for men, including a coat, collar, tie, long-sleeved shirt, long trousers, socks, shoes, or service uniform. For women, the guidelines specify business, formal, or smart casual wear with skirts and dresses below knee-length and sleeveless blouses prohibited.

Acknowledging the past tolerance of the Kaunda suit in parliament, Wetangula emphasized the need to halt this practice to preserve the parliamentary dress code. The Kaunda suit gained recent attention on social media in Kenya due to President Ruto’s frequent appearances in it during official functions.

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The ban has stirred mixed reactions on social media, with some questioning the prohibition of African attire in an African parliament, while others express support.

It should be noted that Kenyan President William Ruto frequently dons the Kaunda suit during official events, and has contributed to its popularity among the political elite not only in Kenya but also in some parts of Africa.

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The Kaunda suit, characterized by a safari jacket and matching trousers, draws its name from the former and late Zambian president, Kenneth Kaunda who played a pivotal role in making it a fashion.

Additional reporting by BBC

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