Rabai MP William Kamoti has petitioned Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’I to appear before parliament to explain the ban on disco matanga in Kilifi County.
Kamoti claimed the ban is an affront to the rights of Kilifi county people and undermines their culture as far as mourning the dead is concerned.
He urged the Interior ministry to consider lifting the ban and allow the people give a befitting send off to their loved ones in line with their culture.
Kamoti took issues with the validity of the ban which he said has been used to outlaw disco matanga in the region.
The lawmaker said disco matanga is an honourable way of mourning a member of the community.
“What measures has the ministry out in place to ensure security is provided during cultural celebrations to enable communities give their departed kin deserving send off in line with their cultural and traditional practices?” he asked.
“Every community has a way of celebrating their dead. In Kilifi and particularly Rabai when one dies, on the eve of the burial people are celebrating him with dirges overnight and this is what the minister has put together and called disco matanga.”
The matter caused uproar during the afternoon sitting on Tuesday with MPs divided on whether the practice should be entertained.
Mvita MP Abdulswamad Sheriff rising on a point of order highlighted the need to preserve the rich culture of communities.
“It is important we respect the culture of others and most importantly respect our own cultures. What actually stands as a rightful way to give befitting sendoff has now been turned to something else,” said Abdulswamad.
Majority leader Aden Duale, Omboko Milemba (Emuhaya), Cecily Mbarire (nominated), Wilberforce Oundo (Funyula) however had different opinion demanding that the Rabai lawmaker drops the question due to its negative impact in the society.
The MPs linked the practice to most of teenage pregnancies and school dropout and called for its abolition to save school going children.
“In my county, disco matanga is always done after burial and during the day. Coast is an area where education is low and partly that has been attributed to disco matanga,” said Milemba.
“There are some things that may be popular for an MP in a Constituency but there are times you must bite the bullet to save your people,” added Mbarire.
Speaker Justine Muturi ruled that the Security committee invite Matiang’i to respond to Kamoti’s question.
The debate comes barely a week after local business people in Kilifi south Sub County demanded for the lifting of the ban.
The business people called for the lifting of the ban on grounds that they can no longer meet needs of their families as their businesses had been grounded.
The business people converged at Mwarakaya in Chonyi where they had invited leaders including the area MP Ken Chonga to look for a way forward.
Speaking during the baraza they argued that some of them have not been able to pay school fees for their children while others lost property to lending groups where they took loans.
During the meeting, the area senior Chief Reuben Tunje announced that the order to ban discos during public and funeral gatherings will stand.
Tunje said the order came after complaints by locals and leaders to the government over the increased cases of early pregnancies within the county.
Chonga said lifting the ban needs a high level consultation with the authorities.
Chonga however urged the residents to remain calm and follow the law as they engage the government to see the ban is reviewed.
William Mbura chairman for Kilifi south Business community said, they are incurring losses due to the ban arguing that some of the disco operators and businessmen had taken bank loans for their businesses.