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Pomp and colour as senators take oath

Deputy Speaker Kathuri Murungi takes an oath during the Senate Assembly swearing-in at Parliament on August 8, 2022. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

When the newly elected senators arrived at the Senate to accept their trophy after long campaigns wearing smiles and elegantly tailored suits and outfits, it was a sight to behold.

Some of the lawmakers looked so polished, refined, and sharp that it was difficult to identify them.

As the new “waheshimiwas” marched to Parliament, they prepared to take the oath of office. Jeans and t-shirts appeared to have been tucked up in a corner of their closet.

All 67 senators — 47 elected and 20 nominated — were inaugurated yesterday in a ceremony that started around 9am.

It was all about style as senators, some of whom were driving luxury vehicles, arrived at Parliament Buildings with family members to take the oath.

The new sheriffs in town arrived with a single goal, regardless of their clothing style—slip fit, classic fit, single breast suit, double breasted suit, single and double vent suit, you name it.

James Murango, the senator for Kirinyaga, however, was the star of the show. He was wearing a yellow suit, as opposed to the navy blue or black suits worn by the other senators.

The Kenya Kwanza lawmaker said that by wearing party colours, he was paying homage to UDA leader and incoming president William Ruto.

The new senator opted to mention Ruto when taking the oath of office, which was interrupted by the Clerk, who requested him to repeat the oath as written. However, it wasn’t just his attire that made the House seem lighter.

Senator Oburu Odinga of Siaya prompted laughs as well after deciding to walk backwards in preparation for a bow before taking the oath.

For the ladies, fresh hairstyle and makeup that was on point left them looking lovely.

However, not all senators preferred the pricey clothes. Ledama ole Kina, the senator for Narok, was dressed in traditional Maasai garb, continuing a pattern he started in the 12th Parliament.

His situation was hardly unique. Nominated senator Hezena Lemaletian wore a similar outfit and accessorised with plaited beadwork.

They were then called one by one in alphabetical order to take the oath of office in either English or Swahili. Christians in the Senate took the oath while holding the Bible; Muslims used the Qur’an.

Others, however, elected not to raise the Bible during the swearing-in ceremony.

Veronica Maina, the UDA Secretary General and nominated senator, decided against lifting the Bible. She arrived at the swearing booth wearing a black suit, and when asked whether she wanted to swear or affirm, she replied, “I will affirm.”

Many religious people, including some Christians, are against swearing oaths and would rather state their intention to tell the truth.