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EALA Mp, Activist Omtatah, move to court protesting issuance of new notes

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Former Kamukunji MP and current legislator in the East African Assembly Simon Mbugua has filed a petition challenging the issuance of new currency notes unveiled on Saturday. The EALA lawmaker has accused the Central Bank of Kenya of failing to involve the members of the public before the notes were printed.

Mr Mbugua wants the court to stop the roll out of the new banknotes pending hearing of the case. He has also complained over the use of the portrait of the founding president Jomo Kenyatta in the notes, arguing that it contravenes the Constitution.

Mr Mbugua argues that the decision by CBK was made unilaterally and that the plan to withdraw Sh1,000 notes by October is punitive and prejudicial to the economy.

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Elsewhere, renowned activist Okiya Omtatah is headed to court to dispute the new currency notes launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday during the Madaraka Day celebrations in Narok.

This move saw the invalidation of the current Ksh 1,000 note which will be done at the end of September 2019. The activist has cited more than one reason as he seeks to stop the enactment of the deadline.

Article 231(4)  states, “Notes and coins issued by the Central Bank of Kenya may bear images that depict or symbolize Kenya or an aspect of Kenya but shall not bear the portrait of any individual.”

The front face of the new currency notes embodies the big 5 of Kenya which include the rhino, buffalo, elephant, lion and the leopard.

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At the back of the notes is the Kenyatta International Convention Center plus the statue of the founding father of the nation, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta which many have raised concerns about.

Speaking to the media about his petition, Omtatah postulates that the statue should not be included in the new currency notes as the constitution stipulates.

In addition to these two reasons, the seasoned litigant also quotes Section 34 of the Sixth Schedule that provides no grounds for invalidation of the old currency notes. The section states:

“Nothing in Article 231(4) affects the validity of coins and notes issued before the effective date.”

He is set to file his case on Monday.

However, in the revised 2014 Central Bank of Kenya Act, Cap 491, Part IV, section 22, there are provisions that make it possible for the Central Bank to withdraw the current notes from the public within a set time frame and give the date with which the notes and coins will cease to be legal tender.

“A notice published in the Gazette, and in such a manner as the Bank considers likely to bring that notice to the attention of the public shall specify the issues and the denominations forming part of the issues,of notes or coins that are to be withdrawn, the places where those notes or coins may be taken for exchange, and the date on which those notes or coins shall cease to be legal tender.”

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