17 April 2014

Kenya: Lamu to Ban Minis, Slit Buibuis and Shorts

THE motion in the Lamu county assembly to ban mini-skirts will also affect buibui wearers. The motion has been moved by Nominated Member Amina Kale. She said that the motion should also apply to women who wear extremely tight clothes and fashionable buibuis with slits on the side.

The motion, which has divided the Lamu assembly, will also ban young men from wearing dreadlocks. Lamu majority chief whip Zahara Shee Mohamed has expressed her support for the motion saying that residents and visitors should respect the traditions of Lamu as a world heritage site.

Zahara said men and women should not imitate western cultures. "Young people have a tendency of walking while holding hands which is a total disregard of culture. Some even kiss in public. This motion if passed will bring a stop to all that and more," said Zahara.

Zahara said she holding campaigns to stressing how culture can be upheld and respected by both locals and visitors. She denied that the ban might damage the tourism industry.

"Tourists come to behold our culture. Now, if we dress up decently the way we do, why shouldn't they emulate us if they really are interested in our culture?" she said. She said that beach boys should respect the rules governing culture during their work.

"People who are saying that the motion might affect tourism must understand that even before tourism, the culture of this place comes first. Tourists must therefore learn to respect our culture when they come. Beach boys are fond of wearing shorts that extremely short and expose all their thighs and keeping dreadlocks. That is improper but now we want to rectify all that by passing this motion into Bill," she said.

However Hongwe ward representative James Njuguna Komu said the ban would damage tourism and alienate the youth. "Lamu's economy depends on tourism. This motion will have a bad impact. If you talk about regulating how young people dress, then you will be sure to throw thousands in court. Such a motion is only good for religion. Otherwise it is no good," said Komu.

Executive member for Trade, Tourism and Culture Samia Omar also opposes the motion. He argues that tourism makes up 79 percent of Lamu's income and the motion could wipe that out.

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