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The story behind Uhuru's new shirts

Thursday March 26 2020
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President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses the country concerning the coronavirus outbreak, at State House, Nairobi, on March 25, 2020. PHOTO | PSCU

By JEREMIAH KIPLANG'AT

During Wednesday’s briefing on Covid-19, President Uhuru Kenyatta wore an attention-stealing shirt that caught the collective eye of the Internet.

The eye-catching shirt is just one of many that the President has adorned in the recent past that are made locally.

On Monday, when Mr Kenyatta announced about government’s partnership with Google for the rolling out of the Loon 4G, that would see countrywide 4G data coverage, he was dressed in a greenish African print shirt that caught the eyes of many.

Some even joked that the President’s shirt was more attractive than the information he gave on new technology as a tool to mitigate work disruptions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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President Uhuru Kenyatta during a press briefing at State House on Monday. PHOTO | PSCU

Last Friday, he wore another African print shirt when he met Central Bank of Kenya Governor Patrick Njoroge and private sector stakeholders at State House where he announced the release of Sh7.4 billion for fight against coronavirus in the country.

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President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) in one of his colourful shirts. PHOTO | PSCU

All the shirts are designed and made by Rivatex East Africa Limited, a textile factory based in Eldoret.

The company said they are grateful that the President supports their work.

“Hope is inspired by what and how we dress. President Uhuru Kenyatta is our number one supporter of our fabrics,” the company tweeted alongside a picture of the President in the shirt he wore on Monday.

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President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses the country concerning the coronavirus outbreak, at State House, Nairobi, on March 25, 2020. PHOTO | PSCU

When he relaunched the company last year, President Kenyatta ordered government employees to put on clothes made by local textile factories on Fridays in a move aimed at inducing confidence in a sector where most people prefer imported attire to the local makes.

The company’s Managing Director, Prof Thomas Kipkurgat, told the Nation on Thursday the President ordered the shirts frequently and that they were designed specifically to capture his tastes and size.

“The President is our number one marketer and we laud him for constantly taking the lead in promotion of local products.

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The shirts are made by Rivatex East Africa Limited, textile factory based in Eldoret. FILE PHOTOS

"He has put us on high pedestal and also in the map of our country and beyond. Through his love for our shirts, we have been able to penetrate into the market,” said Prof Kurgat, who has been tasked with revamping a once high-flying firm that was on the brink of collapse due to financial challenges before Moi University acquired it in 2007.

He said owing to the President’s preference for the shirts, other prominent personalities like Cabinet Secretaries, lawmakers, governors and other senior government officials have already ordered for similar outfits, which he said was priced according to the design, size and fabric used.

He also said all Kenyans are free to buy the shirts from Rivatex shops across the country.

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