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No new Kenyan public holiday to mark Diwali

Kenya has two official public holidays in October: Moi Day on the 10th and Mashujaa Day on the 20th. Moi Day honours former Kenyan president Daniel Moi and Mashujaa Day celebrates the country’s heroes.

But October 2019 has seen fake government gazette notices posted on social media claiming new public holidays for the month.

On 12 October Kenyan athlete Eliud Kipchoge became the first person to run a marathon in under two hours. A fake gazette notice almost immediately went viral, claiming 14 October would be a national holiday to mark his achievement. Africa check debunked it.

Now another fake gazette notice, posted on Facebook, claims 28 October is a new Kenyan public holiday to mark Diwali. 

Diwali (or Divali), the festival of lights, is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and some Buddhists across the world.

Kenyan law says the five days of Diwali may “in every year be public holidays for all persons belonging to the Hindu faith” – not all Kenyans.

‘Ignore gazette notice’ 

The fake notice is seemingly signed by Fred Matiang’i, Kenya’s minister of the interior.

The interior ministry is able to declare public holidays. But it warned that it had not issued any new gazette notice on Diwali.  

“Kindly ignore a gazette notice circulating on social media claiming Monday 28th October 2019 to be a public holiday. Monday 28th remains a normal working day,” the ministry tweeted on 28 October.

The tweet includes the fake notice with the word “FAKE” stamped on it in red. – Dancan Bwire


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