Why Fiji Prime Minister Donned A Skirt During A Gov’t Function In Nairobi

Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji Mr. Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama during the UN-Habitat Assembly / Courtesy

Fiji Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama on Tuesday left tongues wagging after he showed up at the UN Habitat Assembly in Nairobi wearing a court and a skirt.

The Prime Minister was attending Participatory Slum Upgrading program hosted by Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia.

In the pictures shared by the CS, Bainimarama complimented the ‘official’ attire with sandals.

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The bold PM, with admirable oratory skills, delivered his speech without much concern of what other delegates present thought of him.

The Fijian leader spoke of how other countries can borrow a leaf from his country on how to treat slum dwellers.

“We are using rights-based approach, one that does not rely on confrontation or forceful uprooting of communities. We recognize that we share common goals as those of formal settlements,” he stated.

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This was not the first time the prime mister was spotted in a skirt.

In mid May, while attending a heads of state forum in China, Bainimarama stole the show when he stepped out in a skirt, matching a blazer and a tie.

While many, who are used to seeing men in trousers, might question his unique attire, to him its a show of cultural appreciation.

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In Fiji, it’s normal to spot men in skirts as it’s part of their culture. It’s an expression of ethnic Fijian identity

The skirt attire, better known as Sulu, is a garment worn by both men and women in the country.

It consists of a rectangle of cloth of varying length, between below-knee and ankle-length, wrapped around the hips and legs and traditionally fastened by tying at the waist.

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The garment dates back to Fiji colonisation in the 19th century.

According to online sources, the garment was originally imported by missionaries and was worn by Fijians to indicate their conversion to Christianity.

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Written by Wycliffe Nyamasege



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