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Moi Day and Boxing Day get new names

Kenyans might no longer celebrate Boxing Day and Moi Day after the Cabinet on Thursday approved the renaming of the two public holidays, but only if this move is approved by the National Assembly.

During a meeting chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi, the cabinet approved that Moi Day be renamed to Huduma Day and Boxing Day be changed to Utamaduni Day.

In the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) task force report released last month, it was recommended that Boxing Day, which is the day after Christmas, be renamed to the National Culture Day.

“Today’s Cabinet meeting also approved the renaming of Moi Day which falls on 10th October as Huduma Day. This is in line with former President Daniel Arap Moi’s desire that the day be commemorated as a day of service and volunteerism,” a statement from Sate House read in part.

Under the proposals to amend the Public Holidays Act (Cap 109), the Cabinet approved the renaming of Boxing Day which falls on December 26 to Utamaduni Day.

“Utamaduni Day will be set aside to celebrate the country’s rich cultural diversity and heritage. The proposed amendments to the Public Holidays Act will take effect once approved by Parliament,” the statement added.

The BBI report proposes that the Ministry of Culture and Heritage be strengthened in order to achieve national ethos and cohesion.

“A people who care about their national ethos will ensure that this is one of the most important Government bodies. Replace Boxing Day on 26 December with a National Culture Day for celebrating culture and learning about other Kenyans’ cultures (this could also be done on 1 January),” the report said.

It said the country lacked shared beliefs, ideals and aspirations about what Kenya can become if we all subscribed to a national ethos that builds and reinforces our unity.

Boxing Day is said to have originated from the United Kingdom and is celebrated in a number of countries that previously formed part of the British Empire.

In the last few years, there has been confusion on whether October 10, which is formally referred to as Moi Day, still remains to be a public holiday.

Last year, Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i confirmed the day would henceforth be used to celebrate national heroes and heroines.

“In Judicial Review, No. 292 of 2017 (Republic v Cabinet Secretary for Internal Security Ex Parte G O Nyauchi & 4 others) the Court affirmed that the 10th of October remains a public holiday to be observed as such. Going by this decision, therefore, 10th October shall be a public holiday,” explained Matiang’i in a statement released on October 8, 2018.

However, the CS fell short of confirming whether this holiday will be celebrated with a national address from President Uhuru Kenyatta as is the case with other national holiday.