The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party has changed its hard stance on new currency notes unveiled by the Central Bank of Kenya on Saturday last week.
CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge further gave a directive that current Ksh1,000 notes will become obsolete on October 1.
The directive, which is expected to disrupt illicit financial flows, was opposed by a section of ODM leaders, who criticized the inclusion of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta on the new currency.
National Assembly Minority Leader John Mbadi, his Senate counterpart James Orengo and ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna said the move by CBK to include the first President was unconstitutional.
All that seems to be in the past now, as Mbadi who doubles up as ODM Chairman stated on Tuesday that contrary to earlier reports which revealed that the party called for a recall of new notes, it is instead supporting its introduction.
Mbadi, however, said the October 1 Odeadline by CBK should be moved to August 1.
Speaking at Parliament buildings, Mbadi said the notes with the image of the country’s founding father, should be allowed to circulate and be replaced gradually with other printed notes with no such features.
“…you can call it a statute or anything else but it is still a portrait. I think the people of Kenya had a reason why they passed Article 231 (4) of the Constitution. It was not proper to have the portrait of the first president on our notes,” Mbadi said.
He urged his colleagues to stop the exchanges on the new currency and focus the energy on fighting corruption in the country.
“There should be no exchanges about this because I don’t think it adds value to the party. Let us concentrate on other things,” he said.
Yesterday, CBK Governor, amid two petitions in court, said CBK is ready to defend the new notes in court, adding that due process was followed.
The ODM’s move comes two days after legislators allied to Deputy President William Ruto asked CBK to review the October deadline to next month, July 1.
Kikuyu Member of Parliament Kimani Ichungwa argued that the October deadline is quite far, adding that the money should be released to develop the economy.
“The Central Bank Governor said we have four months up to October. In my opinion, it’s too far away. Kenya’s financial year starts in July so if it is possible, the president should make that the deadline for the validity of the Ksh1,000 notes,” Ichungwa said.
He noted that increased liquidity would enable payment of pending bills as directed by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The sentiments were echoed by a number of other leaders who accompanied DP Ruto to a church service in Kahawa Wendani.