Kenya: Court Upholds Inclusion of Mzee Kenyatta’s Statue on New Currency


Nairobi — A three-judge bench of the High Court on Friday sustained the inclusion of the statue of the statue of Founding President Jomo Kenyatta in the new currency notes.

The Constitutional Division bench comprising of Justices George Kimondo, Asenath Ongeri and Anthony M’rima said the statue does not fit the definition of a portrait as stipulated in the Constitution (2010). Justice M’rima dissented.

Article 231 (4) of the Constitution (2010) on whose basis the petition was filed stipulates that: “Notes and coins issued by the Central Bank of Kenya may bear images that depict or symbolise Kenya or an aspect of Kenya but shall not bear the portrait of any individual.”

The High Court bench also sustained the September 30 deadline by which the old Sh1,000 series note will be demonetized saying the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) had allowed adequate time for the exchange of the notes with the new ones.

In the period leading to the determination of the petition filed by Activist Okiya Omtatah and later enjoined to a similar suit by East African Legislative Asembly (EALA) MP Simon Mbugua, the bench visited the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) on August 15 to establish if the Mzee Kenyatta’s statue was indeed part of the 28-story building featured in the new currency note as argued by the CBK.

The judges were accompanied by petitioner activist Okiya Omtatah and lawyer Ochieng Oduol representing CBK.

After visiting both parties agreed the date that the statue was unveiled on September 10, 1973 by then Vice President Moi, while the tower was opened the day after by former President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.

They also agreed that the distance between the statue and the 28-story KICC tower is 80 meters.

Omtatah had argued the statue of Mzee Kenyatta isn’t part of KICC and therefore shouldn’t be in the new bank notes.

He said, the logo of the KICC doesn’t display the statue and that the picture of the statue in the currency is bigger than the tower meaning the focus was on the statue.

“The important thing for me in this matter is that these are two distinct different structures, and the statue is a landscaping detail and not part of the tower,” argued Omtatah.

Omtatah filed the petition opposing the inclusion of the statue in the new currency notes unveiled on July 1 ahead of the demonetization of the old ones in conformity with a constitutional provision that forbids the use of individuals’ portraits on the national currency.

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Publish date : 2019-09-30 12:36:36

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