Court says Jomo statue not a portrait, new notes are legal

The High Court has ruled that new bank notes are legal and held that the President Jomo Kenyatta statue on them is not a portrait.

The court also declined to extend the expiry date of old Sh1,000 notes.

On June 4, two cases challenging the release of new bank notes into circulation were filed before the High Court.

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The petitions filed separately by activist Okiya Omtatah and East Africa Legislative Assembly Member of Parliament Simon Mbugua said the image of a statue of President Jomo are in violation of the Constitution and should be removed from the new denominations.

According to the petitioners, although Kenyatta’s portrait is captured as a part of Kenyatta International Conference Center (KICC), it is a representation of the former President's image, whose inclusion is illegal.

“The petitioners posit that the new design Kenyan currency bank notes are unconstitutional and, therefore, invalid, null and void, because they violate Article 231(4) of the Constitution to the extent that they bear the portrait of the late President Jomo Kenyatta,” the petitions read.

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On August 8, Omtatah also sued Attorney General Kihara Kariuki for publishing new laws to regulate circulation of the new currencies.

Omtatah argued that the AG sneaked in the new law after realising that the Central Bank of Kenya illegally introduced the new generation currencies, and when the court was at an advanced stage of determining legality of the new currencies. 

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He wanted the court to suspend a legal notice published by the AG, pending determination of his suit over the new currencies.

The activist challenged the laws relied on by CBK to introduce the new currencies and have founding President Jomo Kenyatta’s portrait on the notes.

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Okiya OmtatahConstitutionKICC