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Opinion & Analysis

Move on Bangla-Pesa unwise

Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko has dropped a case against slum dwellers running an exchange scheme called Bangla-Pesa in Mombasa.

Although details of the scheme appear blurred by sensational media reports insinuating a link with the outlawed Mombasa Republican Council and claims that Bangla-Pesa was a parallel legal tender, it appears like an innocent project mean to uplift villagers.

Whatever it is, if the scheme was confined to a membership and not the general public there was no cause for Mr Tobiko or the police to waste valuable time on it as long as there was no security threat involved.

It appears that the slum-dwellers, obviously excluded from the mainstream system, were just trying to lift each other out of poverty by pooling resources.

Whether that was ill-advised is a matter to be left to economists and not policemen.

That they were printing what appears to be IoUs on a security paper does not change facts.

The government should have tried to help and not imprison them. Instead it should have looked inward, at its own inadequacies, and help. Next time, Mr Tobiko should try going after the big fish ruining the economy and not victims of the exclusionist system.

Hopefully, the NGOs will not rush to sue the government for wrongful prosecution and probably cost the State money.

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