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New currency debate:Judges visit KICC as debate ranges on as to whether Mzee Jomo Kenyatta’s statue should be on the new notes

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BY JOAN WANJIKU,NAIROBI,15TH AUG 2019-High Court judges on Thursday visited the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) to establish whether Mzee Jomo Kenyatta’s statue at the premises is part of the iconic building.

Activist Okiya Omtatah  had filed a petition  challenging the inclusion of Mzee Kenyatta’s effigy on the new currency.

While the Central Bank of Kenya argues that the statue is part of KICC, Omtatah insists that the two are separate and that inclusion of the statue violates Article 231(4) of the Constitution, which decrees that Kenyan currency bank notes shall not bear the portrait of any individual.

During the Thursday visit to KICC, a three-judge bench measured the distance between the KICC building and Mzee’s statue, establishing that the two are 80 metres apart.

It was also brought to the judges attention the two structures were unveiled on separate days.

Founding President Mzee Kenyatta opened KICC on September 10, 1973 while the then Vice President Daniel arap Moi unveiled the statue the following day.

Omtatah maintained that the two are distinct, further submitting that Mzee Kenyatta’s image on the currency is bigger than the statue and hence, its inclusion on the currency appears as a portrait.

On its part, CBK told the court that the two structures can’t be separated.

“The two features can’t be separated… They are one and the same,” said CBK, further adding: “it is a statue and not a portrait and they stand on the same land number…”

Omtatah maintains that by putting a picture of Mzee Kenyatta’s full statue on every new note, the CBK “sneaked in” the late president’s portrait onto the currency.

The court will deliver it’s judgement on the September 27, 2019.

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