Kenya's President Ruto has popularised the Kaunda suit

Kenya’s President Ruto has popularised the Kaunda suit


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.

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 and made them popular among political leaders across sub-Saharan Africa.

The suit, which is also referred to as the Mao Zedong suit, is collarless and often short-sleeved.

On Tuesday, Mr 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 has been allowed previously in parliament and some MPs have been known for often wearing them.

Mr 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 has trended on social media in Kenya in recent times, after Mr Ruto started wearing them on official occasions.

The banning of the suit has 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.

“Just when you think you’ve seen it all… I guess the Kaunda suits have now been reserved for [the president],” said a social media user on X (formerly Twitter).

Editorial Chief, Nigerian Bureau

Kings UBA is a Nigerian journalist and writer. I have reported for major local and international news organisations. I write satire. In 2017, I started contributing stories primarily to Discover Africa News Network. I can be reached on I currently manage Discover Africa News social media handles