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Govt orders all civil servants to wear ‘Made in Kenya’ on Fridays


Civil servants will now be required to wear Kenyan-made outfits to work on Fridays and on public holidays.

The order was issued in a circular from the Office of the Attorney General dated October 17, 2019, by the Solicitor General, Ken Ogeto, as part of a scheme to achieve president Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big 4 Agenda that touches on manufacturing.

“Pursuant to the achievement of the Big 4 Agenda and specifically the expansion of Manufacturing Pillar by producing better goods and creating local employment, I direct that all members of staff shall on all Fridays be dressed in decent, smart casual Kenyan produced and tailored attire,” the circular signed by Ogeto read in part.

On Tuesday, Ogeto confirmed the authenticity of the circular. “The circular is authentic yes . It was issued in line with govt policy to spur growth of local manufacturing industry as one of the pillars of the big four, ” he said in a text message.

The directive took effect last Friday, October 18, and is expected to be part of the official dress code for government staff. The order was addressed to all heads of departments and regional heads and copied to the AG Kihara Kariuki.

During Mashujaa Day celebrations last Sunday in Mombasa, the usual dark suits worn by top officials were replaced by colourful African design attires.

LOCAL PRODUCTS

President Kenyatta, his Deputy William Ruto and Cabinet Secretaries all wore Kenyan made outfits in what was said to be setting an example for Kenyans to embrace local products.

Some of the local governors including Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and his Kilifi counterpart Amason Kingi also wore similar attires.

The attires were reportedly made at Bedi Investment Limited, a textile firm based in Nakuru County.

This is not the first time the government has pushed for the adoption of Kenyan wear to boost local markets. During the commissioning of ultramodern textile industry Rivatex this year, President Kenyatta appealed to Kenyans to proudly wear “Made in Kenya” clothes.

“For government to lead by example, I urge all public servants to wear at least one piece of garment made in Kenya on Fridays,” he added. During the event, the President wore a shirt made at Rivatex. And in March last year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, declared Fridays as Kenyan attire day.

AFRICANNESS

In a memo to Directors, Heads of Departments and various units, Tom Amolo, the Political and Diplomatic Secretary in the ministry, said that “Africanness” should be used as a tool for diplomacy.

“We brand our nation as much through our choice of attire, as what we may say or do,” Amolo wrote.

Amolo called on state officers and all Kenyans to embrace the various African fabrics and fashion styles from wherever they are in Africa or outside.

“The ethos of this re-engagement speaks to an assertion of an affirmative African narrative that defines our Africaness and insists that at its core, its manifestations and reflections – being African is best,” he said.

He said that the initiative aimed at increasing awareness on Kenya’s culture as well as generate interest in the country’s heritage.

Past initiatives to come up with a quintessential Kenyan dress have however been fruitless.