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CBK defends new currency design

Wednesday June 12 2019

new generation bank notes

Samples of the new generation currency notes unveiled by the Central Bank of Kenya on June 1, 2019. Lawsuits have be filed against the use of the new notes. PHOTO | COURTESY 

MAUREEN KAKAH
By MAUREEN KAKAH
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There was wide public participation and stakeholder engagement in the design and imagery on the new currency notes, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has said in response to a case challenging the use of founding President Jomo Kenyatta’s portrait on the currency.

The bank’s legal director, Mr Kennedy Abuga, on Tuesday told the court that two notices were published in the daily newspapers inviting individuals, institutions, organisations and professional bodies to present their proposals on the elements they wanted featured on the new currency.

It was realised that the guiding themes would be using images showing Kenya reborn, and the country’s prosperity, he said.

Mr Abuga said the bank expressly said in the notices that it highly considered the views and input of the citizens in the design of the currency as a constitutional right.

“I wish to confirm that following the publication of the notices, CBK received proposals from many individuals, institutions, organisations and professional bodies on the design of the new currency. But Mr Okiya Omtatah did not present his proposal, hence the current design was settled on,” Mr Abuga said.

According to CBK, the Kenyatta International Convention Centre has a unique design that features a dazzling fountain and a statue of the founding president.

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JOMO PORTRAIT

In documents filed in court, CBK said all the issues raised in the case by Mr Omtatah had been determined in a case in 2017, and cannot therefore be raised in a fresh suit.

Mr Abuga pointed out that CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge was appointed long after the process of designing the new currency had started, so he cannot be blamed for it, and urged the court dismiss Mr Omtatah’s petition challenging the design of new currency.

Last week, Mr Omtatah and East African Assembly legislator Simon Mbugua moved to court seeking the removal of President’s portrait from the new currency.

They argued that the Constitution prohibits the use of a portrait of an individual on any Kenyan currency, and asked the court to stop the circulation of the new notes.

The case was forwarded to Chief Justice David Maraga who will constitute a bench of judges to determine it.