The question of whether or not Wednesday will be a no-work public holiday continues to draw confusion, with employers being non-committal and the Interior ministry remaining silent.
Wednesday, which falls on October 10 and which for two decades was celebrated as Moi Day, is still a public holiday following a judgment issued last November by High Court Judge George Odunga.
But because it has not been marked as a public holiday since 2010 when the Constitution was promulgated — a Constitution that did not list it as one of the holidays to be celebrated in Kenya — there is uncertainty over what should happen on Wednesday.
The Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE), which was an interested party in the case that was filed by Gragory Oriaro Nyauchi, on Friday issued an advisory to its members stating that Wednesday will be a public holiday because no one has challenged Justice Odunga’s judgment of November 6, 2017.
“The court orders have not been challenged and the Public Holidays Act has not been amended and therefore October 10 each year shall continue being a public holiday,” stated FKE Executive Director Jacqueline Mugo.
Contacted Saturday, Mrs Mugo did not specify whether or not employers will let their staff stay out of work that day.
“The statement was to advise our members what the court ruled on whether October 10 is a public holiday or not. We hope the government will issue a statement clarifying the position. FKE can only state the legal position as it currently stands,” she said.
Lawyers told the Nation that there is uncertainty even in the courts, as some judges have been committing to hear cases on Wednesday while others have been skipping the day.
Last week, in a televised session when TV host Jacque Maribe was presented in court, Kiambu Principal Magistrate Justus Kituku skipped Wednesday when fixing the date for Ms Maribe’s return to the dock. This was after lawyers pointed out that Wednesday would be a holiday, which the magistrate promptly agreed with.
From the available court hearing schedules, there is confusion on whether or not courts will be open on that day.
In the cause list of the Court of Appeal in Kisumu, for instance, Wednesday will have cases heard like any other day.
But the same court in Nairobi has no matters scheduled for that day, with the cause list jumping from Tuesday to Thursday.