Saturday took on a greater significance for me when I noticed that the newish KES 500 currency note I was holding had been issued on July 16th 2010, making it exactly a year old.
Bit of research made me realize that the Central Bank of Kenya issues a lot of it’s currency around July. This perhaps because the Kenyan government’s fiscal year starts in July and ends in June.
The date was also significant because it meant as per the new constitution, promulgated in August of last year, that the notes issued in July 2010 will be last to bear the portrait of a person.
All future currency,presumably starting with the July 2011 issue, will bear national symbols.
Will be disconcerting for a lot of people since Kenya is the sort of place where people love “kile tumezoea” [what we are used to] and can not imagine alternative ways of doing things. Sure a lot of people will be wondering “Now which pictures will be on currency?”
Currency notes from just across the border in Uganda, do not bear portraits, but all sorts of other symbol. If you are in possession of Ugandan currency might just help you get the picture.
Many Kenyans do not appreciate just how an elaborate work of art, our legal tender is. In many countries currency notes are a staid affair.
My favorite Kenyan currency note, is the old KES500 note bearing the portrait of former President Moi,issued in 1990s.
A true beauty.
Will be posting pics of it soon.