Fashion Alert: Senators now allowed to wear traditional attire in Parliament – VIDEO
Senators will now be allowed to attend proceedings donning cultural attire after the House Speaker Kenneth Lusaka made a landmark ruling on Tuesday.
The ruling came after Narok Senator Ledama Ole Kina temporarily brought proceedings in the Senate to a halt when he entered the Chambers clad in the traditional Maasai attire.
The Speaker made the ruling after Wajir Senator Abdulahi Ali questioned whether his Narok counterpart was properly dressed when he appeared in Parliament dressed in the famous Maasai shuka (wrapper).
Mr Lusaka cited the constitutional provisions on culture and the Speaker’s rule book that detail the way and manner in which members should dress before they are allowed in the chamber.
Citing Rule 5 of the Speakers Rules and Articles 11 of the Constitution, Lusaka declared Maasai regalia as the cultural dress that is acceptable in the Chamber.
“Maasai dress is one of the most well-known and recognised cultural heritages of Kenya and is globally synonymous with Kenya and it would be absurd if we as a people do not take pride in and celebrate it,” he stated.
And he went on to explain, “We all know that we represent our counties and every county has its own cultural dressing. Narok and Kajiado have their cultural dressing which is recognised world over. So, it will be unfortunate for me to order him out of the house.”
“My culture my pride …thank you Mr Speaker for respecting the constitution and our culture!” ole Kina said.
— Sen. Ledama Olekina (@ledamalekina) November 10, 2020
The rule book declares that a member must be dressed in a formal suit, a shirt and tie, socks and shoes. It also approves entry into the chamber of service uniforms, religious attire and any other decent attire that must be approved from time.
According to Parliament’s Standing Orders on dressing code, members, press officers, and guests are not allowed in the chamber, lounges, dining or committee rooms without being properly dressed.
“Based on that it would be unfair and unconstitutional for me to order that Mr Ole Kina out of the chamber on the account that he is not properly dressed,” Lusaka ruled.
“I rule he is properly dressed and he must remain in the chamber,” to a thunderous applause from the House.
Senators in attendance hailed the ruling, noting that it will enable Kenyans to showcase their rich culture.