Governor Alfred Mutua has slammed critics of new generation currency which was unveiled last week by President Uhuru Kenyatta and defended the use of Jomo Kenyatta’s statute on the notes.
The governor said the widespread excitement across the country arising from the recall of the current currency notes by the Central Bank of Kenya had been chocked by pre-mature debate over trivial issues.
Addressing wananchi after visiting Machakos retail market on an inspection tour of facilities, Mutua said the value of any money was not what picture or color it bears, but rather its purchasing power of goods or services.
“There is a difference between a statute and a portrait. What we have on the new notes is the statute of our founding father Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. The people complaining will be okay if it was a statute of lion of giraffe. Are those animals more important than the founding father of the nation and other heroes,” posed Mutua.
Mutua said like other founding fathers of other African nations, Mzee Kenyatta was in the history books as a hero who cannot be wished away. “A society that chooses to bash and disregard those who transformed it from colonial imperialism to the freedom that we enjoy today is a doomed society. What we should be rooting for is, having different statutes of our heroes such as Tom Mboya, Paul Ngei, Dedan Kimathi, Wangari Maathai, Oginga Odinga and so on,” Dr Mutua said.
He said Kenyans should redirect their energy towards building a strong economy and therefore a strong international currency. “What I want to see is a strong Kenyan shilling that can trade internationally and one whose purchasing power is felt by citizens as they grow richer. A strong shilling means strong wages and better quality of life,” said the governor.
Mutua, who has declared he will seek the presidency come 2022 said the myriad problems facing Kenyans do not accord them the luxury of engaging in simplistic issues. “With the challenges we face in our country of high unemployment, lack of money in circulation, runaway corruption trade imbalance and polarized politics, we need to up our game or we will remain a third world country forever,” he said.
Activist Okiya Omtata and EALA MP Simon Mbugua have moved to court to challenge the introduction of the new currency notes, terming them unconstitutional.