Should Matiang’i Cancel Tuesday Holiday?

On Sunday, May 1, Chief Kadhi Ahmed Muhdar announced that Eid-Ul-Fir would be celebrated on Monday, May 2, following the sighting of the moon.

However, following that announcement, Kenyans are concerned about the possibility of them returning to work sooner than expected, after last week’s wild celebrations as they ushered in a 5-day weekend.

Dunstan Omari, a lawyer, affirmed that Tuesday remains a public holiday, elaborating that while the declaration of Eid is done by the religious leaders, the gazettement of public holidays is by the government.


Omari noted that the decision by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i to settle on May 3 was informed by different sightings of the moon, which determines the day of the festival of fast-breaking.

“The public holiday is the preserve of government while that of a religious holiday is that of the Chief Kadhi. There has always been a dispute about when Eid will be. Some areas have already spotted the moon while others have not, thus some have broken the fast while their fellows are yet to.” he stated.

“Government took caution, given that the difference in the sighting of the moon is normally between six to eight hours, Tuesday was gazetted so that everybody can celebrate. That was the rationale used,” the lawyer explained.

Eid-Ul-Fitr is among the public listed in the public holidays act depending on the sighting of the crescent.

“The days specified in Part II of the Schedule shall, in addition to the days specified in Part I thereof, in every year be public holidays for all persons belonging to the Islamic faith,” reads Section 2 (2) of the act.

Consequently, Eid will not be de-gazetted because the Act clearly indicates that two public holidays cannot be celebrated on the same day. Since Monday is a public holiday after Labour Day fell on a Sunday, the religious holiday can only be pushed to the next day, May 3.

“Where, in any year, a day in Part I of the Schedule falls on a Sunday, then the first succeeding day, not being a public holiday, shall be a public holiday and the first-mentioned day shall cease to be a public holiday,” subsection 4 reads.

The government handed Kenyans a 5-day weekend after Friday, April 29 was declared a public holiday in honour of the Late President Mwai Kibaki, during which his State Funeral was held.

In his goodwill message, President Uhuru Kenyatta called for unity and continued prayers for the country ahead of the General Election.

“As we mark the end of the Holy Month of Ramadhan today, it gives me great pleasure to send you this message of goodwill and best wishes as you celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr.

“Eid-ul- Fitr is a time to rejoice in having fulfilled the command of Allah (the most Merciful and Gracious). It is also a time to share with the less fortunate in keeping with the teachings of the Holy Quran and Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him),” the statement read in part.

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