• Chairman says party has no issue with new notes but image of Jomo Kenyatta should be removed in future printing.
• Says CBK move will help to mop up illicit money from the market.
The ODM leadership has moved to quell the fallout among its legislators over the constitutionality of the new bank notes unveiled on Saturday.
Chairman John Mbadi said the party has no issue with the new notes but demanded that the image of President Jomo Kenyatta’s statue be expunged from subsequent printing.
The party also called on Central Bank of Kenya governor Patrick Njoroge to reduce the time limit within which old Sh1,000 notes should be withdrawn from circulation.
They want CBK to vacate the October 1 deadline and gazette August 1 as the new date.
This will help in moping out illicit money from the market, Mbadi said.
“We support the new notes by CBK. We associate ourselves with the thinking behind the withdrawal of the Sh1,000. The October 1 date is what the party has a problem with. We want the old notes to cease being legal tender by August 1,” Mbadi said.
“We don’t want money launderers to have time to sanitise their money. The black market has paralleled the mainstream financial system,” he said.
Mbadi criticised CBK for using the statue image on the notes.
“The statue is still a portrait. It was not proper to have a portrait on our notes but we balance that with economic situation and corruption. The ones that have been printed can be used but new notes should comply with the law during the next printing,” said the Suba South lawmaker.
The new bank notes had split ODM legislators with one faction supporting the notes in their current state and another opposed to the inclusion of an image of the first President.
Mbadi, ODM secretary general Edwin Sifuna, Senate Minority Leader James Orengo and Rarieda MP Otiende Amolo have been in the forefront opposing the new notes on the basis of the portrait which they maintained is a clear breach of law.
Article 231 of the Constitution bars Central Bank of Kenya from using portraits of people in national currencies.
Another faction led by National Assembly Minority Leader Junet Mohammed, MPs James Nyikal (Seme), Jared Okelo (Nyando), Tom Kajwang’ (Ruaraka), Opondo Kaluma (Homa Bay Town) and Sam Atandi (Alego Usonga) have broken ranks with their colleagues and backed the demonetisation process telling their colleagues to look at the bigger picture.
But addressing a press conference at his office yesterday, Mbadi directed party leaders to heed to the party’s official position and avoid further debate on the matter.
“I am not speaking for lawyers. I am not chairman of LSK. I am the chairman of ODM and I am giving the official party position,” Mbadi said in response to Monday’s claims by Junet’s faction that theirs was the party’s position.
(Edited by O. Owino)