UTAMADUNI DAY, what it means and why Kenyans celebrate it
UTAMADUNI DAY, WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY KENYANS CELEBRATE IT
Utamaduni Day is a public holiday in Kenya observed on October 10th each year, a day set aside to celebrate the country’s rich cultural diversity and heritage. It was previously celebrated to honor the Second President of the Republic of Kenya, the late Daniel Arap Moi. Until 2020, this holiday was called Moi Day. It was renamed as Huduma Day, and then Utamaduni Day in December 2020.
According to a statement from the former President Uhuru’s Strategic Communication Unit, the renaming of the national holiday was in line with former President Moi's desire that the day should be commemorated as a day of service and volunteerism.
The day will be observed through national prayers that will highlight service and volunteerism to the community. Kenyans are encouraged to participate in the prayers and promote national unity, social justice, cohesion and sustainable development in their communities for the benefit of present and future generations.
UTAMADUNI DAY HISTORY
Utamaduni Day, previously known as Moi Day is celebrated on October 10th to mark Moi’s ascension to power after the death of founding President Jomo Kenyatta in August 1978.
Moi Day was removed from the list of Kenya national holidays following the promulgation of the Constitution of Kenya in August 2010. However, it was reinstated in 2017 following a court ruling by the Supreme Court, which reversed the decision of the parliament. The then justice of the High Court Justice George Odunga said the 2010 nullification of Moi Day was a contravention of Public Holidays Act.
Justice Odunga noted that if parliament was of the view that Moi Day ought not to continue being considered as a public holiday, they should have amended the Act accordingly.
"I declare that unless and until Parliament amends Schedule 1 of the said Act or the minister substitutes the same for another date, the 10th of October in each year shall continue being a Public Holiday."
Judge Odunga said Parliament had been wrong for not making amendments and forcing Kenyans to "toil on a day the law expressly directs to be a public holiday amounts to a violation of their rights unless the exception in section 5 of the Public Holiday Acts applies".
The ruling followed a case which was filed by Gregory Nyauchi against the Cabinet Secretaries for Interior, East Africa Community, Labour, and the Attorney General.
Justice George Odunga did not specify how the holiday should be celebrated leaving the matter to Parliament and the Interior Cabinet Secretary. Not surprisingly Moi Day was observed in 2018 without much government fanfare.
HOW TO CELEBRATE HUDUMA DAY
Huduma Day is celebrated today in Kenya with activities that encourage community development. The Kenyan government uses the occasion to highlight the benefits of sustainable development, from statewide prayer services to community development projects. Below are some of the ways to celebrate the day:
Participate in the community development activities that are typically carried out on this day. Citizens are encouraged by the Kenyan government to attend prayer sessions on this day to create unity.
If you are unable to attend Huduma Day in Kenya, you could help with community development projects in your region. The most important aspect of the day is ensuring participation in activities that can positively affect community development.
Huduma Day is an excellent opportunity to enjoy a couple of excellent Kenyan cuisine. Ugali, which is so popular in Kenya and which it is often referred to as the country's national dish should be embraced on this day. Other traditional cuisines like ‘busaa’ among local brews, yams, sweet potatoes should be the order of the day to celebrate our cultures.