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Speaker Wetangula bans MPs from wearing Kaunda suits in Parliament

National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetangula has banned Members of Parliament (MPs) from wearing Kaunda suits while in the House.

National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetangula speaking in Parliament on June 6, 2023

The ruling was made on November 28, 2023, after Wetangula said the trend contravenes the parliamentary dress code.

“My predecessors have had no issue with Kaunda suits…Going forward, any attire outside what is prescribed in Rule 9 of the Speaker’s Rules is prohibited. This includes Kaunda suits, whether long or short-sleeved,” he said.

“All members must observe rule 9 not only in the chamber but also in the committees, lounges and in the dining areas,” the speaker added.

According to the Speaker's Rules, a proper dress code for men means a coat, collar, tie, long-sleeved shirt, long trousers, socks and shoes or service uniform.

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For the ladies, they are required to dress in business, formal or smart casual wear. Skirts and dresses should be below knee-length and decent. Sleeveless blouses are prohibited.

Kaunda suits are named after Zambia's first president, Kenneth Kaunda, who was known for wearing them.

The suits are characterized by a short-sleeved shirt with a matching pair of trousers, and they have been popular among Kenyan politicians for many years.

Speaker Wetangula's decision has sparked mixed reactions among Kenyans, with some supporting the move while others are opposed to it.

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Those in favor of the ban argue that Kaunda suits are not formal enough for parliamentary proceedings, while those against it say that the suits are part of Kenyan political culture and banning them is unnecessary.

His recent fashion choices, particularly his preference for Kaunda suits, have sparked a resurgence in demand for these outfits, which were extremely popular in the 90s.

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Nominated Senator Karen Nyamu was, on Tuesday, February 14, 2023, forced to leave the Senate chambers due to inappropriate dressing.

The senator was dressed in a kitenge skirt and a sleeveless blouse that exposed her upper arms. She was ordered to leave and only return after changing to something appropriate.

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Gloria Orwoba, a nominated UDA senator, was sent out after joining the senate session in stained white trousers.

The lawmaker argued that she was on her monthly period and the stain was just a natural accident.

She also maintained that the stain portrayed what many young girls go through during their menses.

During a virtual Senate meeting on January 19, 2023, Kitui Senator Enock Wambua was denied a chance to speak over an inappropriate mode of dress.

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Wambua logged on to the meeting wearing a sports jacket with a Kenyan flag.

According to him, the jacket was within the set standards because it had Kenya's flag on it.

After a series of protests from the Senator, it was ruled that the attire did not meet the Senate standards.

On February 12, 2014, the then Awendo MP Jared Opiyo was ordered to leave the chambers for wearing an attire that exposed his arms.

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Opiyo was directed to go and dress well before appearing at the House.

In 2011, as a first-time MP, Mike Mbuvi Sonko was thrown out of the National Assembly chambers for wearing studs and sunglasses.

In his defence, Sonko said that his dress code represented the youth who elected him to parliament.

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