Thousands of nomadic Kenyan pastoralists stuck with old 1,000 shilling note

Herders who had been grazing in remote Tana Delta in Tana River County since February returning home on October 2, 2019. They were not aware Kenya phased-out the old Sh1,000 note.

By Bernard Maranga, KBC/NECJOGHA

Tana River, Kenya – The old Ksh 1,000 notes ceased being legal tender in Kenya on September 30. Since introducing new currency notes on June 1st, the government widely publicized that the old KSh 1,000 would stop being used as from October 1st.

Despite the extensive publicity given to the matter, it has now emerged that there is a group of people who claim were not informed about the currency changes.

More than 2,000 pastoralists are stuck with the old Ksh 1000 notes even after the deadline for exchanging lapsed.

The pastoralists missed on the deadline as they had migrated to remote areas of Tana River and Lamu counties and have since arrived home when the notes are no longer legal tender in the country.

Owed to the nature of their occupation which involves traveling long distances in the wild, these pastoralists were unable to beat the September deadline as they were still far away from home.

They spoke to the Daily Nation newspaper and they revealed that they were not aware the old Ksh 1000 notes were becoming obsolete until they attempted to pay for services once they accessed shopping centers.

The old Kenyan 1000 shilling note that was phased out on September 30th.

“We tried paying for food in a hotel in Minjila, only to be told the money was not valid. It nearly ended in a confrontation with the hotel owner, but someone who understood where we had come from later explained to us what was going on,” Mohammed Barisa told the Daily Nation.

These herdsmen are now calling on the Central Bank to be a bit lenient and allow them to have their old notes swapped.

“We are in various groups from different areas. Our groups have leaders who can confirm who is from where so that everything will be very transparent to save us from this loss we are facing,” pleaded Barako.

Barisa, the herdsman disclosed that many more herders were in the grazing field and they are not aware of the new currency change.

“We even sold some sheep and goats to some people, and they paid us with these old Sh1,000 notes. We have close to Sh200,000 with us, but now we are told we have papers that no bank can take,” said Ishmael Barako, a herder.

Worthy no note, Barako said some businessmen are taking advantage of these pastoralists by buying cattle in masses using the old 1,000 Ksh.

By the end of the deadline, 7.4 Mn pieces of the old Ksh 1000 notes had not been returned according to Central Bank of Kenya, the notes being held by these pastoralists is included in the notes that were counted as unreturned.




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