By Samuel Ouma
The consumers Federation of Kenya (Cofek), a body which protects consumers against counterfeit products and services has rushed to court seeking to stop the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) from printing the new look currency.
In his suit, the federation argued the Central Bank of Kenya did not follow due procedure when choosing the image printed on the new coins. It said the Article 10 of the constitution which calls for public participation was ignored.
The lobby’s secretary general Stephen Mutoro accused CBK of choosing and imposing images on Kenyans which it purports represent their aspiration. He said CBK’s move is an affront to the rule of law, constitutionality and the nationhood.
The federation wants the CBK to be forced to withdraw the coins that have been printed and conduct the process afresh. He disclosed that Cofek wrote to CBK on October seeking wider public participation but the request was allegedly ignored.
“Allowing the choices made by the Central Bank of Kenya as though they were made by majority of Kenyans is an affront to the rule of the law,” he said.
This came barely one week after President Uhuru Kenyatta unveiled the new currency. The Head of the State said the new coins contain new features which will appeal to visually impaired people.
The new coins are available in the denominations of Ksh.1, Ksh.5, Ksh.10 and Ksh.20. The Ksh.1 coin bears the image of a giraffe while the Ksh.5 coin depicts the image of a rhino. The Ksh.10 coin has the image of a lion whereas the Ksh.20 bears the image of an elephant.
During the launch last week, CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge said the coins bear significant aspect of the country and will act as a means of passing knowledge, conserving culture and promoting Kenya’s uniqueness.
He revealed that they will roll out a campaign to create awareness, educating the public on the new coinage. The new coins are circulating with the old ones which have not been withdrawn.
The new look currency has endured several court battles over who would print the new currency before the Court of Appeal gave the British firm De La Rue go ahead to print.
Activist Okiya Omtatah had gone to court to challenge the Ksh.10 billion-a-year tender to print Kenya’s new look currency awarded to De La Rue firm by the CBK. He argued the tender was illegally procured since the firm is not a Kenyan owned entity.
The High Court nullified the award and asked CBK to re-evaluate the tender which prompted De La Rue and CBK to file appeal.