New notes: Judges to rule on September 27

They visited KICC to establish if statue is part of it

In Summary


The new look Kenyan currency notes.
The new look Kenyan currency notes.

A three-judge bench yesterday visited the KICC to determine whether the Mzee Jomo Kenyatta's statue used in the new currency notes is part of the building.

Judges George Kimondo, Anthony Murima and Asenath Nyaboke were at the site. Activist Okiya Omtatah and lawyer Ocheing Oduol, who is representing the Central Bank of Kenya, were also present.

The judges looked at the distance between the Kenyatta International Convention Centre and the statue, when each was built and unveiled as well as their main features.

Both parties agreed that at the time KICC was opened the statue was already in place. KICC and the stature are 80m apart.

They also agreed that the statue was unveiled on September 10, 1973, by former President Daniel arap Moi and KICC was unveiled on September 11 by the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.

Oduol told the bench that the distance between tower and statue does not matter and the features cannot be separated.

But Omtatah said the statue is not part of KICC. He accused CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge of violating the Constitution by having Kenyatta's statue at the back of the new notes. He also accused the CBK of not conducting public participation in the design stage to determine its imagery.

Omtatah in his suit papers wants the court to suspend the ongoing circulation of the new currency. He also protested the use of Kenyatta's portrait.

But Njoroge, in an affidavit, said that KICC is a key national monumen under the National Museums and Heritage Act and should be preserved as depicting the very essence of Kenya and its national heritage.

He said prior to adopting the usage of image of KICCt on the front of all new notes, the CBK on October 4, 2013, sought legal advice from former Attorney General Githu Muigai. Githu okayed the use of the image, saying it was not in contravention of the law.


The bench after hearing both parties said it will render its decision on September 27.

In June this year, CBK  issued new generation coins in line with 2010 constitutional requirements that banned the use of presidential portraits on Kenyan currency.

The new currency coins have symbols and not portraits of persons, as is required by the law, and will be circulating alongside existing ones.

The Sh1 coin now bears the image of a giraffe, the Sh5 coin a rhino, the Sh10 coin a lion while the Sh20 coin will now sport an elephant.

The Sh1 coins weighs 5.5g and are silver in colour while the Sh5coin weighs 3.75g with a diameter of 19.5mm. The Sh10 coin weighs 5g, is 23mm in diameter with a yellow outer and silver inner.

The new Sh20 coin weighs 9 grammes with a diameter of 26mm - it's silver outside and yellow inside. It's silver on the outer side and yellow inside.