NAIROBI, Kenya Jun 4 – The Orange Democratic Movement Party (ODM) now wants the Central Bank of Kenya to reduce the phasing out period of the current Sh1,000 note from October to August 1 noting that the change of timeline will aid in curbing the illicit financial inflows and counterfeit currency in the country.
Party Chairman John Mbadi said following consultations among the rank and file and the leadership of ODM, it was agreed that the reduction of time would block holders of illicit money from pumping it back into the economy.
“The economy of the country has been distorted by black market activities that involve money. We expect a gazette notice to be issued to that effect so that we do not give room for people who have been operating and handling illicit money in this country from having time to clean and sanitise the same,” he said.
The Suba South MP who spoke at Parliament buildings on Tuesday clarified that the Raila Odinga-led outfit had not asked for a recall of the new notes, which according to CBK are already in circulation.
Mbadi said the party had no issues with the composition of the new notes, especially with the image of the nation’s founding President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta which has been captured on the notes.
He however, asked CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge to consider doing away with the image when fresh notes are printed for the purposes of satisfying dissenting voices who believe that there was outright violation of the Constitution.
According to Article 231 (4) of the Constitution, notes and coins issued by the CBK may bear images that depict or symbolise Kenya or an aspect of Kenya but shall not bear the portrait of any individual.
Following the unveiling of the notes by Njoroge and President Uhuru Kenyatta during the Madaraka Day celebrations on Saturday, the presence of the image of Mzee Kenyatta on the currency has been a thorny issue which has split politicians down the middle.
Petitions have already been lodged in court challenging the rollout of the notes but Mbadi maintains that a balancing act needs to be observed for the sake of public interest and economic consideration.
“The new notes have already been printed and I think it would be unwise to recall them from the market. Instead, we ask the CBK Governor when printing fresh notes, they should consider the views of Kenyans and ensure that they do not capture any image of an individual as clearly stipulated in the constitution,” he said.
He asked ODM members not to contradict the party position insisting that there were other pressing issues like referendum and the country’s debt that would require their contribution.