October 10 is a Public Holiday but CS Matiang’i isn’t Happy About it

Fred Matiangi
CS Fred Matiang'i

A court ruling on the Republic v Cabinet Secretary for Internal Security Ex Parte G O Nyauchi & 4 Others matter, fell in favour of October 10 being reinstated as a public holiday, this was recently supported by Attorney General Kihara Kariuki. Kenyans had lost the joy of October 10 after the new constitution merged the then Moi Day with Kenyatta day on the 20th of October and renamed it to Mashujaa Day.

After the court ruling, Kenyans were eagerly waiting for an official announcement from the government, of which, we have gotten through the Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government. Amidst the celebrations from Kenyans when the message was received, it was quite obvious that CS Matiangi’s tone was not a joyful one.

In this press statement, the Cabinet Secretary starts of by educating Kenyans on what the current constitution regards as public holidays, “Provisions on public holidays are found in the Constitution, the Public Holidays Act (Cap 110, Laws of Kenya) and in case-law. The Framers of our Constitution wisely stated in Article 9(3) that we shall celebrate our National heroes in one day…,” says Matiang’i.

“Kenyans should note that the Public Holidays Act was enacted before the Effective date of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 (that is to say 27th August 2010) and the 10th of October is not among the national days recognised under Article 9(3) of the Constitution,” he adds.

What follows is where the juice is, “It is worth mentioning the fact that as an emerging economy we need to optimally utilise our time working and building the Nation, and this might have advised the reduction of public holidays…,” writes Dr Fred Matiang’i. It gets even better, “In light of the Preamble in the Constitution of Kenya 2010 where we as people of Kenya adopted and enacted the Constitution to ourselves and to our future generations, we need to take pride in supporting economic advancement and the wellbeing of families and communities,” reads the statement.

What is now obvious, is that the Cabinet Secretary is not for the 10th October Holiday but he is somewhat forced to abide by the court ruling, “However, In Judicial Review No. 292 of 2017 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,” he says.

The CS then goes ahead to say that his ministry is in the process of making proposals to parliament for the comprehensive review of the Public Holidays Act. He then culminates by saying that he has no pronouncements on how the 10th October Holiday shall be celebrated.

Despite the obvious “shingo upande” move by the government, most Kenyans will start official celebrations on Tuesday night, drinking through to Wednesday.

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