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Kenyans are to enjoy an extra day’s public holiday from 2018 after a High Court Judge restored ‘Moi Day’ to the national calendar.

Moi Day, formerly held on October 10, was removed from the list of national holidays after the 2010 constitution came into effect. But on Thursday Judge George Odunga ruled in the High Court that the administrative decision to drop the public holiday denied Kenyan workers the right to take a day off and receive allowances on that day, and that by not observing it as a national holiday breached the Public Holidays Act.

“I hereby grant a declaration that omission to have the 10th day of October observed as a public holiday is an illegality. I further declare that unless Parliament amends the Act or the minister substitutes for another date, October 10 shall, in each year, continue being a public holiday“, Judge Odunga ruled.


Judge Odunga observed that the celebration of Moi Day as a public holiday would not be in contravention of Kenya’s Constitution.

“Whereas the day is not a national day it is clear that as far as the provisions of the Public Holidays Act is concerned, the day is still a holiday unless it is shown that its celebration runs counter to the provisions of section 7(1) of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution”, the Judge said. “In other words, I am not satisfied that the celebration of Moi Day  as a public holiday as opposed to a national day is not in tandem with the provisions of the Constitution of Kenya.”

With the reinstatement of Moi Day, Kenya currently has 12 national holidays, including ‘Madaraka Day’ (‘Freedom Day’) marking Kenya’s internal self-rule in 1963, on June 1; ‘Mashujaa Day’ (‘Heroes Day’)  that honours those who fought for Kenya’s independence, on October 20; and ‘Jamhuri Day’ (‘Republic Day’) marking Kenya’s Independence in 1963, on December 12.

Daniel arap Moi served, or ruled, depending on your point of view, as Kenya’s second President from 1978 to 2002, having previously been the country’s third Vice-President from 1967 to 1978. He is now 93 years old.


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