Members of Parliament will no longer be allowed to wear Kaunda suits to the floor of the House or during committee meetings after the Speaker of the National Assembly Moses Wetang’ula banned the dress from the House.
Wetang’ula, in a communication delivered to the House on Tuesday, acknowledged the historical acceptance of suit, and said that the dress code was against House rules on male attire.
The speaker said that Kaunda suits have been a common feature in Parliament dating back to the 8th Parliament when the then MP for Runyenjes, Njeru Kathangu regularly wore them to the House.
In subsequent Parliaments, including the 12th Parliament, some members have also been donning the attire, seemingly following in Njeru Kathangu’s footsteps.
“Senior Counsel, Otiende Amollo, the member for Rarieda, stands out as having a particular taste for collarless coats. The same was the case for the former member for Kisumu Town West, Olago Aluoch, among others.” the Speaker said.
The speaker however noted that while it is the current preference by some members to dress easy while attending Parliamentary business in plenary and Committees, such attire does not align with the seriousness required in Parliamentary sessions, including Committees.
While citing emerging fashion trends that challenge the established Parliamentary dress code, Wetang’ula emphasized that it had become necessary for him to depart from what has been obtained regarding admittance of the Kaunda suit as appropriate dress.
“Going forward, therefore, any attire outside of what is prescribed in Rule 9 of the Speaker’s Rules is prohibited. This includes Kaunda suits, whether long or short-sleeved,” the Speaker said.
Further, the speaker said he had been petitioned regarding appropriate attire for the honourable lady members.
“In this regard, it is instructed that lady members must also be dressed in official attire at all times whilst in the precincts of Parliament and while attending committee meetings. They must also avoid tightly fitting clothes and revealing attire,” he said.
The speaker however added that the directive is in no way meant to prefect members but is meant to protect and uphold the dignity of the House and stature as Hon. Members of Parliament.