The Ministry of Interior has addressed a gazette notice that has been circulating online alleging that Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i had declared November 4, 2021, a national holiday.
In a brief statement on Wednesday, November 3, the ministry dismissed the gazette notice, stating that it is fake and meant to mislead the general public.
"The Government HAS NOT declared a public holiday on THURSDAY NOV 4, 2021. The purported gazette notice declaring a holiday is FAKE!" The Ministry tweeted.
The alleged gazette notice as seen by Nairobileo.co.ke had alleged that November 4, would be a national holiday to mark Diwali 2021.
The gazette notice was dated November 3, and allegedly signed by CS Matiang'i.
"It is notified for the general information of the public that in the exercise of the powers conferred by section 2 (2), as read with section 3 of the Public Holiday Act, the Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Co-ordination of National Government declares that Thursday, 4th November 2021 shall be a public holiday to mark Diwali 2021," the said notice read in part.
Diwali also known as the festival of the lights is an important auspicious holiday in the Hindi calendar.
Even though Diwali is not among the gazetted public holidays in Kenya, Kenyan Hindus for many years have jubilantly marked the holiday as they take off a day from work and school to honour their rituals.
Following the tweet by the Ministry of Interior, a section of netizens expressed their frustration at the decision by the government not to gazette Diwali as a national holiday.
"We demand equity Hindu community also need a public holiday why are they not given one. Christians have Easter and Christmas, Muslims 2 Eid celebrations with public holidays, Hindus just need one day to enjoy there fundamental rights with family and friends," Joy Mugabi stated.
"Matiangi has forgotten to respect the religious right of the minority. Why not celebrate Diwali?" David Maithya posed.