Kenya’s Catholic Church has expressed its outrage to remarks made by its Education Minister Mutula Kilonzo in support of calls by some girl students clamouring to be allowed to wear miniskirts in their schools. In a press statement issued through the Catholic church’s highest decision making organ, the Kenya Episcopal Conference (KEC) through its Chairman for Education and Religious Matters, Nakuru Diocese Bishop Maurice Muhatia Makumba, the church termed Mutula’s remarks as unfortunate “coming from a person we hold in such high regard”.
Bishop Makumba said in a statement he signed: “ The Catholic Church takes great exception to the reference made to the dressing of nuns and feels that was in bad taste. Catholic Sisters (nuns) have made tremendous contribution in the provision of holistic education in this country”. He said the schools they run are among the best in the country and had produced “women of substance in different sectors of our nation” . Said the Bishop: “ It is important to note that the girls of Rwathia secondary school in Murang’a County only asked for shorter more comfortable skirts and not miniskirts as the minister said”. “The purpose of a school uniform is to unify, create cohesion and build a sense of belonging and identity which are very crucial in the early formative years of a child”, he said.
The usually non-controversial prelate said the call for modern and comfortable dressing while valid should not be used to compromise decency and acceptability by the community and stakeholders. Bishop Makumba noted that schools and basic education are formation centres meaning that the dressing, language, relationships and discipline are key in holistic development of children. “We appeal to public figures to be particularly prudent on such issues while making public statements. We remind them that the cultural and religious values of all Kenyans are sacred and should be respected. Reference to the dress code of Catholic nuns in an apparently derogatory manner is sad and unexpected of respected leaders whom the catholic Church holds in high esteem. He concluded thus: “ We pray and believe that unfortunate remarks will be retracted and explained by the Minister. Yours sincerely in Christ”.
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