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Go Form Whatsapp Group, CBK Head Of Communication Tells Kenyans About ‘Banki’ Translation On New Currency

CBK head of communications Wallace Kantai . [PHOTIO/ COURTESY]

Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) head of communications Wallace Kantai on Wednesday was pushed to the wall by the Consumers Federation of Kenya (Cofek) and concerned Kenyans over the translation of the word ‘bank’ to ‘banki’ in Swahili on the new currency.

Kenyans have been in the recent past engaged in a debate over the translation, terming ‘banki’ as not being the correct translation to Swahili for English word bank.

However, Kantai said that the translation has been in use since 1966, and it was used intentionally hence not an error.

Read: Fake New Currency Notes Hit streets As Taxi Driver Falls Prey In Moyale

“But surely. It’s been ‘Banki’ since 1966. Who says it’s an error? And who says it’s a mistake?” posed Kantai.

However, pressed by Kenyans on Twitter, Kantai seemed to lose his cool, telling them to go and form a Whatsapp group as others continued using the new currency.

Haya. Tengenezeni WhatsApp group. Sisi wengine wacha tutumie pesa zilizotolewa na Banki Kuu ya Kenya. (Alright. You can form a WhatsApp group, the rest of us will use notes made by the Central Bank of Kenya),” he said.

Read: ODM Changes Tune On New Currency, Asks CBK To Review October 1 Deadline

Kantai said that the country cannot benchmark on Google or Tanzania for Swahili translations to make such decisions.

“Dear COFEK, is Google the ultimate authority on Kiswahili?” he posed.

Most Swahili dictionaries recognise ‘benki’ as the correct translation of bank to Swahili, which is agreeable to most Swahili scholars. However, ‘banki’ is also agreeable in some Swahili speakers and scholars.

Read: CBK Governor Ready To Defend New Currency In Court Following Two Petitions

According to Professor Rayya Timammy of the University of Nairobi who spoke to a local publication, the correct translation is benki.

“The correct written word is ‘benki’. In English the word is ‘bank’ with an ‘a’ therefore when the word was picked from the language, the ‘a’ was converted to an ‘e’. The way it is written on the Tanzanian note is the correct way, the Kenyan note has it wrong,” she said.

However, in the old note, CBK has also been using ‘banki’.

Here are some reactions from Kenyans on Twitter.



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Written by Francis Muli

Follow me on Twitter @francismuli_. Email

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