Kenyans drop their guard as Jubilee's women brigade step out in killer camouflage dress code eliciting debate on its legality

Just like a real army, the brigade has a chain of command and conduct military marches and salutation.

The group which calls itself the Jubilee’s women brigade turns heads wherever they go as they are clad in communist style berets complete with military attire.

The group was formed on October 2, after more than 4,000 women went to State House Nairobi dressed in bright red shirts and red berets for a meeting with the commander-in-chief, President Kenyatta.

“Viva Jubilee Viva,” said the President as he saluted them.

The women stood up and answered back.

“Viva Jubilee Viva. We are your army.”

And just like that, an “army” was born, The Uhuruto Women Brigade.

Since then, the team led by their patron, former Nairobi Woman Rep Rachel Shebesh, has been traversing the country drumming up support for the Jubilee presidential candidate dressed in military jungle uniforms and red berets.

Moreover, just like a real army, the brigade has a chain of command.

Generals include Nairobi Speaker Beatrice Elachi, Nominated Senator, Ms. Mbarire, Bomet Governor Joyce Laboso and Kiriyanga Governor, Ms. Waiguru.

Their campaign rallies are also a spectacle, the women brigade conduct replica military marches and salutation with such flair that the public drops their jaws and guard.

According to Ms. Mbarire, the brigade is an offshoot of Women for Women, a movement started to support women who wanted to join politics.

A section of Kenyans and security experts have however accused them of polarising the country and sending war-like signals at a time of high political temperatures.

The legality of the dress has also caused consternation since it is illegal to wear clothes similar to Kenyan military fatigues after the country banned the sale and wearing of clothes resembling military or police uniform in 2006.

Those found guilty are liable for a 10-year imprisonment or a fine not exceeding Sh1 million.

Kenya Defence Forces spokesperson Col David Obonyo, agrees that it is against the law for anyone to wear military fatigue.

On the legality of Jubilee brigade, Mr. Obonyo, however, says he has not seen anyone wearing KDF uniform.

“Nobody is wearing KDF uniform. Nobody has got our uniform. It would be illegal,” he says.

But Shebesh says they are not breaking any law by wearing what their brigade chose as their uniform.

“These clothes are available all over the city. If you go to Eastleigh or any shop, you will get them. How come they are available if they are illegal?” she poses.

“We chose the combat and berets because they stand out. Berets are also worn by girls in school while red represents Jubilee.  People should not make a big deal about it,” adds Ms. Mbarire.

Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika said the theme of the brigade is: “Get out, vote and protect your vote” while its salutation is “Viva Uhuruto!"


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