Hot air declaration: Raila announces Monday March 20 is a ‘public holiday’
Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition leader Raila Odinga has announced Monday, March 20 is a ‘public holiday’.
Speaking during a rally in Siaya on Tuesday, Raila said, “In the name of Azimio one Kenya Alliance, We declare that Monday, March 20 will be a public holiday.”
He was responding to a call by NARC Kenya leader Martha Karua who asked him to declare the day a public holiday to provide room for Kenyans to attend the mass protests.
Karua said, “We ask you, your excellency, to declare that day [Monday, 20 March] a public holiday so we can get on with this matter [anti-govt demos]. We can’t have rigged elections year in, year out.”
The former Justice Minister reiterated that Azimio won the presidential contest and failure to open the servers leaves them little option but to rally their supporters to the streets to seek justice.
She said the mass action is not for Raila’s benefit but for the interest of the electorate whose choice of the ballot was violated.
Raila said the mass action will take the shape of street demonstrations, picketing, boycotts, disobedience, peaceful petitions, and sit-ins.
“Take note that on the March 20, 2023, we have a date with destiny in Nairobi. On that day, our supporters throughout the country shall stage a massive procession in Nairobi for a legitimate and inclusive government. Save the date,” he said.
What the law says
Raila’s call for a Monday public holiday is not legally permissible. Only the Interior Cabinet Secretary has the authority to declare a public holiday, according to the law.
The Public Holiday’s Act says, “The Minister may at any time if he thinks fit, by notice in the Gazette, declare any day to be a public holiday either in addition to the days mentioned in the Schedule or in substitution for any of those days and either throughout Kenya or in any district, area or part thereof, and thereupon any day so appointed shall be a public holiday in all respects as if it were a day mentioned in the Schedule, in Kenya or the locality specified in the notice; and where, in any year, any day is so declared to be a public holiday in substitution for any of the days mentioned in the Schedule.”