22 February 2014

Tanzania: Colourful Dress Code At the Opening of Constituent Assembly

Dodoma — AS the country makes a mark in history with the first and only Constituent Assembly kicking off here this week, the one thing that stood out among the members was the varied and colourful dress code.

The strict dress codes of suits including Kaunda suits for male members and two piece skirt suits made from vitenge for female members as the dress code is not strictly observed in the Constituent Assembly. Members of the Constituent Assembly sported a wide selection of attires, some with western style dresses and others with an African flair representing the various cultures.

There were those dressed in Maasai traditional cloth, others in Vitenge shirts and a few with what looked like costumes from Zanzibar. The most popular attires were the Dira and other forms of flowing gowns with a small number of men wearing the kanzu, with a hat and formal jacket.

The young male members pulled it off with off khaki smart casual trousers and button down shirts, including Godless Lema and Zitto Kabwe. For head gear there were head scarves, aside the hijabs, while others had the more informal style of vitenge wrapped around their waist.

Upcoming designer based in Dodoma, Amina Ramadhani said the African attire can be very made into different designs and shapes. She said now that the Vitenge and Khanga fashions are back which can be made into any design and are far from expensive. The public should expect a lot more fashion statements during the Constituent Assembly.

Amina said the fact that the Constituent Assembly has decided to allow the members the freedom to dress in other designs, aside from the usual western style dress codes, is inspiring and will promote and encourage youths to prefer African designs. So what do the regulations say about the Constituent Assembly dress code?

According to the standing orders which are still under discussions yet to be passed by the Assembly the regulations underscore the importance of dressing respectfully in attires that reflect the country's traditional norms and culture and must not don any political party colours.

Formal dressing for the Constituent Assembly chairman and the vice chairman will be regalia over their normal dressing that showcases the national flag colours and the national symbol. Although the regulations are not specific over the dress code of the members, the Constituent Assembly Clerk and the deputy are however required to dress in an African round necked short or long sleeved Kaunda suit in black or blue.

The Clerk and the deputy will sport a special regalia over the suits. They can also dress in western style suits of blue or black with white shirts with a tie under the regalia. If the Clerk and the deputy are women, they should dress in black or blue suits, white blouses and a tie, under the special regalia, however there is no specification of skirt or trouser suits.

The standing orders are strict on attires that show disrespect to the constituent assembly, however the orders did not specify which attires are respecful and which are not.

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