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Photo by SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images

Does Kenya’s New 1,000 Shilling Note Violate the Constitution?

The new note is coming tomorrow but some Kenyans argue that it contains an image of Jomo Kenyatta and is therefore illegal.

Today is the last day for the old one thousand shilling bank note in Kenya, and not everyone is happy about the change. The new note is intended to curb corruption but many Kenyans have been displeased with the design, arguing that it violates the 2010 constitution which does not allow the portrait of an individual on any form of currency, the DW reports. The new note will feature a lion on one side and an image of the Kenyan International Convention Centre with a statue of Jomo Kenyatta on the other.


People are confused as to why the currency change intended to combat corruption features a powerful man. A well-known activist, Okiya Omtatah has petitioned the Kenyan High Court to change the image, but the court ruled last Friday that the image was a picture of a statue and was therefore not a portrait. Omtatah has said they will appeal the decision but it seems the Central Bank of Kenya will be proceeding with the exchange as scheduled for tomorrow.

The use and spread of the Kenyan shilling is considered to be equivalent to the US Dollar in East Africa, with the thousand note as the highest note denomination (valued at about $10) says the BBC. In accordance with the change, neighboring countries Tanzania and Uganda have already stopped accepting the Kenyan thousand shilling note. It is believed that many hundreds of millions are being held in this currency by illegal economies and corrupt officials. By changing the note, the hope is to force those stashed notes back into circulation and help the government account for the nation's funds. It also helps President Uhuru Kenyatta–son of Jomo Kenyatta, the former president pictured in the disputed currency design–show he is acting on a campaign promise to crack down on corruption.

(The new note is pictured above right in the tweet)

This is the first note to be transitioned with the other four—500, 200,100 and 50—to be exchanged in the near future. As of the start of today, the BBC reports that the Central Bank of Kenya has reported 70 percent of the old notes being exchanged, leaving around $600 million still unaccounted for.

Here are some reactions to the currency change, including one instance of buying a Mercedes in the notes to offload the cash:



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Update (October 02, 2019): According to a BBC report, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has deemed the demonetization of the old thousand shilling note successful. They state that 95% of all notes were returned, meaning the remaining 5%, or 7.3 billion shillings ($70 million), simply became "worthless pieces of paper." The governor of the CBK has also stated that 3,172 transactions in exchanging notes were found suspicious and would be investigated.

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Photo by Robert Szaniszlo/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

Kenyan Athlete Eliud Kipchoge Nominated for Sportsman of the Year Award

The record-breaking marathon runner has been nominated for the top prize in the 2020 Laureus World Sports Awards alongside Lionel Messi, Tiger Woods, Lewis Hamilton and Rafael Nadal.

Sport24 reports that Kenyan athlete and marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge has been nominated for Sportsman of the Year in the 2020 Laureus World Sports Awards.

He's made the prestigious nominations list alongside Lionel Messi, Tiger Woods, Lewis Hamilton and Rafael Nadal.

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Photo courtesy of Film Movement.

'Rafiki,' Trevor Noah's 'The Daily Show,' & More, Earn 2020 GLAAD Award Nominations

The GLAAD awards recognize "fair, accurate and inclusive representations" of the LGBTQ community in media.

The nominations for the annual GLAAD Media Awards, which "recognize and honor media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community and the issues that affect their lives," have just been announced, and several of our favorite shows this year have earned nominations.

Wanuri Kahiu's groundbreaking film Rafiki earned a nomination in the "Outstanding Film Limited Release" category. The acclaimed lesbian love story was the first Kenyan film to screen at Cannes. We caught up with the director to discuss the film back in May of last year.

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Photo courtesy of CSA Global.

In Conversation with Congolese NBA Player Emmanuel Mudiay: 'I want more African players in the NBA.'

The Utah Jazz player talks about being African in the NBA, supporting basketball in the DRC and how 'everybody knows about Burna Boy'.

Inspired by his basketball-playing older brothers, by second grade, Emmanuel Mudiay already knew that he wanted to play in the American National Basketball Association. Then in 2001 his family, fleeing the war in Democratic Republic of Congo, sought asylum in the United States.

In America, Mudiay saw basketball as a way for him to improve his situation. After impressive high school and college careers, he moved to China to play pro ball. Picked 7th overall in the 2015 NBA draft, the now 23-year-old guard has made a name for himself this season coming off the bench for the Utah Jazz.

Mudiay attests to the sport having changed not only his life but that of his siblings. Basketball gave them all a chance at a good education and the opportunity to dream without conditions. Now he wants to see other talented African players make it too.

We caught up with him to talk about his experience as an African player in the NBA, his hopes for basketball on the African continent and who he and his teammates jam out to in their locker rooms.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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University lecturer and activist Doctor Stella Nyanzi (L) reacts in court as she attends a trial to face charges for cyber-harassment and offensives communication, in Kampala, on April 10, 2017. (Photo by GAEL GRILHOT/AFP via Getty Images)

Jailed Ugandan Activist, Stella Nyanzi, Wins PEN Prize for Freedom of Expression

The outspoken activist, who is currently serving a prison sentence for a poem she wrote about the president's mother's vagina, won for her resistance "in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her."

Stella Nyanzi, the Ugandan academic, activist, and vocal critic of President Yoweri Museveni has been awarded the 2020 Oxfam Novib/PEN International award for freedom of expression, given to writers who "continue to work for freedom of expression in the face of persecution."

Nyanzi is currently serving a 15 month sentence for "cyber harassment" after she published a poem in which she wrote that she wished "the acidic pus flooding Esiteri's (the president's mother) vaginal canal had burn up your unborn fetus. Burn you up as badly as you have corroded all morality and professionalism out of our public institutions in Uganda."

According to the director of PEN International, Carles Torner, her unfiltered outspokenness around the issues facing her country is what earned her the award. "For her, writing is a permanent form of resistance in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her," said Torner at the award ceremony.

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