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CBK official settles "Banki" and "Benki" debate once and for all

Who says we're wrong?

New Kenyan note juxtaposed with Tanzanian currency. CBK settles Banki and Benki debate once and for all

Central Bank of Kenya Head of Communications Wallace Kantai on Wednesday settled the debate over which is correct between "Benki" and "Banki" as appears on the Kenyan currency.

A storm has been brewing among Kenyans with many highlighting that Kenyan currency notes (both old and new) use "Banki Kuu ya Kenya" as opposed to "Benki" which is used by other East African nations.

Responding to a blast from the Consumers Federation of Kenya (Cofek) who demanded a recall of the notes and reversal of the print to read "Benki Kuu ya Kenya", Mr Kantai insisted that it was intentional and correct.


"But surely. It’s been ‘Banki’ since 1966. Who says it’s an error? And who says it’s a mistake?" Mr Kantai posed in his responses to critics.

Swahili experts,Tanzanian dialect will not dictate what CBK prints - Wallace Kantai

The CBK official noted that Google, Swahili experts and Tanzanian dialect could not be used as reference points to determine the correct word.

"Dear COFEK, is Google the ultimate authority on Kiswahili?" he posed.

When pressed by other concerned commentators on the matter, Kantai responded: "Haya. Tengenezeni WhatsApp group. Sisi wengine wacha tutumie pesa zilizotolewa na Banki Kuu ya Kenya. (Alright. You can form a WhatsApp group, the rest of us will use notes made by the Central Bank of Kenya)."

ADVERTISEMENT caught up with Professor Rayya Timammy of the University of Nairobi over the matter and she clarified that the correct Swahili translation of "bank" is indeed "benki".

"The correct written word is 'benki'. In English the word is 'bank' with an 'a' therefore when the word was picked from the language, the 'a' was converted to an 'e'. The way it is written on the Tanzanian note is the correct way, the Kenyan note has it wrong," she explained.


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