By Nyambega Gisesa
NAIROBI, KENYA: The police officers who arrested some residents of Bangladesh in Mombasa read a lot from the Bangla-Pesa initiative.
The arrested residents have been accused of being members and sympathisers of the separatist Mombasa Republican Council (MRC).
The MRC has been pushing for an independent country in Coast Province that would have its own currency, among other things.
Police searched for MRC materials in the houses of the arrested locals, but nothing was found to link them to the secessionist group.
“This is an investigation. We are pursuing all possible leads including a threat to national security,” Changamwe police boss Joseph Muthee told The Standard on Sunday.
In an exclusive interview with the initiators, William Ruddick and his wife Jacqualine Kiuwa, the couple was shocked that their efforts to find possible solutions to endemic poverty have now subjected them to endless agony.
“The trying moments have resulted in our six-week-old daughter having little parental care,” Jacqualine said.
Ruddick spent Thursday answering questions from interrogators who included officers from the Central Bank of Kenya who drove from Nairobi to Mombasa.
“The series of questions included on how Bangla-Pesa is functioning, the motivation behind it and if it was a forgery,” their lawyer Peter Kirui said. Ruddick was born in California and studied Econophysics.
Also known as Physics of finance, Econophysics is the study of the behavior of financial and economic markets. He arrived in Kenya in 2008 as a Peace Corp with American volunteers who travel overseas to make a difference in the lives of people.
After serving his stint as a Peace Corp, he started engaging in community activities like tree planting and caring for street children and orphans.
In 2010, he married Jacqualine who is the director of Koru Kenya, which launched Bangla-Pesa. The idea was initiated by Ruddick after reading a book titled The End of Money: Creating New Wealth, Work and Wise World by Lietaer Bernard.
The book stresses that cash is ridiculous and that it penalises the poor more than anyone else. Ruddick has a work permit and writes papers for various institutions.