Kenya’s parliament bans wearing of ‘Kaunda suit’ within National Assembly building


NAIROBI – Kenya’s parliament has banned the wearing of a suit named after the late Zambian President, Kenneth Kaunda, within the building.

Speaker of Parliament, Moses Wetangula, said Kaunda suits, as well as traditional African clothes, were not welcome.

The BBC reported that Kenyan President William Ruto often wears them on official occasions.

This has made the Kaunda suit – a safari jacket with matching trousers – popular with the political class.

The suit is named after the late Zambian president who loved wearing them.

It is often short-sleeved, worn without a tie and Ruto had worn the suit with a short upturned collar.

On Tuesday, Wetangula said his decision to ban the suit was due to emerging fashion trends that threatened the established parliamentary dress code.

He noted that a proper dress code for men “means a coat, a collar, a tie, long-sleeved shirt, long trousers, socks, shoes, or service uniform”.

“For ladies, business, formal, or smart casual wear applies. Skirts and dresses should be below knee-length and decent. Sleeveless blouses are prohibited,” he said.

The Kaunda suit had been allowed previously in Parliament and some MPs had been known for often wearing them.

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Wetangula acknowledged that these suits had been “somehow tolerated” in the past but that it was now time to stop that amid a threat to the parliamentary dress code.

The Kaunda suit had trended on social media in Kenya in recent times, after Ruto started wearing them on official occasions.

The banning of the suit had elicited mixed reactions on social media, with some wondering why “African attire” would be banned by an African Parliament, while others supported it.

Some have also mocked the ban, saying the Kaunda suit would now be reserved for the president.

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