The Central Bank of Kenya Act That Prohibits Printing Portraits of Individuals on Kenyan Currency

  • President Uhuru Kenyatta may have to shelve hopes of following in the footsteps of his predecessors who have all enjoyed the priviledge of having their portraits on Kenyan currency.

    According to the Central Bank of Kenya Act, it is illegal to have the portrait of an individual on notes and coins that are used as Kenyan currency.

    The Act states that: "Notes and coins issued by the Central Bank of Kenya may bear images that depict or symbolise Kenya or an aspect of Kenya but shall not bear the portrait of any individual."

    [caption caption="Ten Shilling note with portrait of Kenya's First President Jomo Kenyatta"][/caption]

    The Act that became law with the promulgation of the 2010 Constitution was scheduled to be enacted in September of 2015.

    It, however, has not been enacted into law as the Governor of the Central Bank, Patrick Njoroge explained there are numerous modalities to be worked out.

    "The Central Bank of Kenya has embarked on the process of developing new currency as required by the Constitution. It will be appreciated that the process is very technical and complex and also involves public participation, which the governor confirms has already been undertaken," Dr Njoroge told the Senate in 2016.

    [caption caption="Twenty Shilling note with a portrait of Kenya's second president Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi"][/caption]

    In early 2016, the Governor outlined that the process of redesigning currency would cost up to Sh18 Billion shillings. 

    The tendering process would be cancelled soon after and the rhetoric on the subject has quieted down.

    [caption caption="Forty shilling coin with portrait of Kenya's third president Mwai Kibaki "][/caption]

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