New dress code for County assembly visitors
13 March 2014, 16:45
Vihiga - Members of the public will no longer access the Vihiga County Assembly chambers if they are not dressed in suits.
The assembly has introduced stern rules to check on how visitors to the assembly dress. Those who do adhere to the code will not be allowed in.
This has drawn public outrage with the members saying that the assembly is out to kill the spirit of public participation in whatever they are doing.
Vincent Angweye scoffed at the assembly saying majority of the locals were leading poor lives and could not afford a suit.
“I have never dressed in a suit and my status cannot allow me to own one. Many of us are leading poor lives. The rule on dressing code aims at blocking us from attending proceedings. This will deny us our constitutional rights,” he said.
He noted that if the public are blocked out of the proceedings due to lack of suits, the assembly will pass laws behind their backs, some draconian.
Sections of residents drawn from different parts of the county are now planning protests against the controversial rule on dressing code.
A civil society member of centre for law and research international, Victor Ijaika said the introduction of dressing in suits before attending the proceedings at the county assembly contravenes the constitution.
He argued that the assembly needs to have a public gallery and noted that villagers should not be forced to own suits in order to participate in the proceedings.
“We shall follow it up with the speaker to revert that regulation,” he said
The list of nine rules and regulations signed by the assembly’s sergeant at arms, George Kibisu have also netted in journalists.
Of the nine regulations, residents are faulting the ninth rule that requires all residents wishing to attend the proceedings to dress in a full suit with a tacked-in shirt.
“We do not necessarily force people to dress in suits. We introduced this rule because some people were coming into the assembly hall in slippers and indecently dressed. We want people to be smart and clean,” Kibisu said.
He noted that the assembly would not allow anybody dressed in a t-shirt into the assembly hall.
“T-shirts are meant for people working in the farm. We cannot allow anyone dressed in it to enter the assembly hall. We must accord this honorable house the respect it deserves,” he said.
The sittings of the assembly are currently being undertaken at Vihiga high school as the assembly hall is being renovated.
Kibisu said that once the ongoing renovation is completed, journalists will have their own door to use when getting into the hall.
“We are also in the process of preparing their accreditation so that they will not have to provide their identity cards before we can allow them into the hall,” he said.
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