By Seliphar Machoni
Huduma Day, observed on October 10th each year, is a public holiday that has been designated for citizens to provide services to one another and acknowledge their respective struggles.
Initially celebrated as Moi Day in honor of the late former President Daniel Arap Moi, the holiday was renamed Huduma Day to align with his desire for it to serve as a day of service and volunteerism.
In accordance with this objective, national prayers will be conducted on this day highlighting service and volunteerism within communities. Kenyans are encouraged to participate actively in these prayers aimed at promoting national unity, social justice, cohesion and sustainable development for present and future generations.
The promulgation of Kenya’s Constitution in August 2010 led to the removal of Moi Day from the list of Kenya’s national holidays. It was subsequently replaced by Huduma Day following its official launch by former President Uhuru Kenyatta in December 2019. The Miscellaneous Amendment Bill 2020 passed by Members of Parliament further renamed Moi Day as Huduma day.
Miscellaneous Amendment Bills typically entail omnibus amendments sponsored by State Law Officers such as the Attorney General aimed at cleaning up existing Acts. Dr. Fred Matiang’i, former Interior Cabinet Secretary, gazetted Huduma Day after which it was first celebrated in 2021.
“This was done following provisions listed under Sections 2 and 4 of Public Holidays Act (Cap110). Henceforth confirming that October 11th, 2021 would indeed be a public holiday,” said Dr. Matiang’i in 2021.
However, there appears to be some confusion regarding whether it is Huduma or Utamaduni Day that will be celebrated since many individuals eagerly anticipate this holiday.
Upon interviewing several residents within Kakamega town about their understanding surrounding what they were set out celebrating come October 10th, 2023 – responses appeared unclear.
“I am not quite certain when we changed from celebrating Moi’s legacy, but I don’t know if we now celebrate either Huduma or Utamaduni Day instead. I have never truly grasped what exactly we are meant to commemorate on that date, so I’m just going through my typical daily routine like any other ordinary day,” one resident shared.
“As far as I can recall, I’ve never really understood what precisely we mark every tenth (10) of October, but I’m hopeful that this year, hopefully, our president will clarify things once and for all, thus putting an end to any confusion,” another resident added.