BY SAM ALFAN.
Central Bank of Kenya has defended the roll out of new generation currency notes arguing that there was adequate public participation before the notes were printed.
In response to a suit filed by activist Okiya Omtatah, CBK said dismisses allegations that there was no public participation and stakeholder engagement in the design and imagery of banknotes and the claims have no legal basis.
“I believe if Okiya Omtata was interested in participating in the design process, he had an opportunity to do so from the moment the Notices were issued on March 7, 2012 until there issuance which he failed to,” reads part of the reply.
Regarding the issue of the image used in the notes, the bank claims that the features are acceptable and meet the threshold set in the constitution adding that the notes do not bear the portrait of any individual or that of President Jomo Kenyatta as alleged.
Further, the bank claims that before adapting the usage of KICC on the front of all new notes, CBK sought the advice of Attorney General and was informed that the image of KICC was not in contravention of Article 23(1)(4)of the constitution.
The bank says that KICC is an important landmark, it is unique for its architectural design and was the first facility built in Kenya containing 24 storey with a revolving restaurant, a helipad and a host of conference halls.
“It should therefore be preserved as depicting the very essence of Kenya and its national heritage, “reads court papers.
In the documents filed in court CBK said before any currency is issued, it ensures that there is adequate stakeholders’ engagement or public participation.
CBK says that it expressly stated in the Notices that it considered citizens views and input in the design process to be a fundamental constitutional rights and therefore highly encourages public participation in this important exercise.
That to ensure there was public participation, CBK gave the individuals, institutions, organizations and professional bodies on the design.
The bank argues that it gave broad factors for consideration in the proposals from individuals , institutions , organizations and professionals bodies which include Dominant physical features any aspect of Kenya, Key aspects of agriculture , Technology , sports , manufacturing , infrastructure , Tourism and Environment , preferred color schemes for each banknote and preferred sizes for both banknotes and coins.