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Matiang’i no-holiday a bitter pill for Kenyans

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Acting Cabinet Secretary for Interior Dr Fred Matiang’i broke the hearts of many Kenyans when he decreed that there will be no public holiday on Friday.

Matiang’i, in a press statement, said Eid Ul Adha is gazetted as a holiday for Muslims and not a public holiday. He, however, promised that plans are underway to make it a public holiday.

“The holiday is listed as Muslim holiday but plans are under way for the government to present a Bill in Parliament to make it a national public holiday. Adherents of Islam religion will celebrate the day and therefore employers should allow them to be away from work. For non-Muslims, this will be a normal working day,” said Matiang’i.

Related: Monday Sept. 12 declared holiday

Kenyans had anticipated that Friday would be a public holiday. Most countries with Muslim populations such as neighbouring Uganda have declared it so. Following the announcement, some took to social media platforms to castigate Matiang’i.

Speculations are that the move has been taken to keep Kenyans engaged when the Supreme Court ruling on presidential petition will be made to ease tension in the country.

Eid Ul Adha, also known as Id ul Azha, is the single-most important feast of the Islamic year, falling on the 10th day of the final month of the Islamic calendar (Dhu al Hijjah). The date moves on the Gregorian calendar by around 10 days per year.

Last year, the late Maj Gen (Rrd) Joseph Nkaissery declared September 12 a public holiday to celebrate the Islamic feast.

READ: Music star who’s turning shit into money in slum toilets

According to publicholidays.co.ke, the background of Id ul Azha is the Islamic account of Ibrahim willingly offering up his son Ishmael as a sacrifice before an angel intervened and stopped the hand in which he held the knife. Ishmael, along with Esau, is one of the two main forefathers of the Arab people.

Ideally, Muslims go on pilgrimage to Mecca to re-enact the sacrifice and take part in ceremonies held in the very places where the events are thought to have transpired. However, most Kenyans cannot afford to make this journey and therefore sacrifice a cow, camel, sheep, or goat in their own country.

The meat is then divided in three. One part goes to the family that makes the sacrifice, another part to friends and relatives, and the final part to the poor of the community. However, it is generally only wealthy Muslims who can sacrifice an animal. The particular kind varies largely by region, but the animals must be halal.

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FRANCIS MULI
FRANCIS MULIhttp://www.businesstoday.co.ke
Editor and writer, Francis Muli has a passion for human interest stories. He holds a BSc in Communication and Journalism from Moi University and has worked for various organisations including Kenya Television Service. Email:[email protected]
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