When did you last use a Kenyan 50 cent coin? Nay, when did you last see a Kenyan 50 cent coin? Chances are not any time in the recent past. Like the 5 cent, 10 cents and many other denominations of coins before it, the little coin is slowly getting edged out of use. Only this one is not being officially taken off circulation by Central Bank but by market forces.
According the Central Bank the 50 cent coin is still legal tender which every Kenyan is obliged to accept and use if given. But the situation on the ground is quite different. It’s use has all but ground to a halt. From small scale vegetable vendors to shopkeepers nobody wants anything to do with the coin that just a few years back could mean the difference between affording or not affording something. Just recently there was a complaint by Tusky’s customers that the supermarket was issuing too many worthless 50 cents coins as change. The customers in turn have nowhere to take them.
When many of us were growing up, there was such a thing as 10 cents. The big copper coin that could get you 2 sweets each costing 5 cents. Then there was the smaller 5 cents coin. Even big retail shops and supermarkets incorporated in their pricing. You could get an item for say, Kshs 29.95 or Kshs 39.15. Not any more. For current generations it sounds like ancient history.
It’s not by choice that people are shunning the little coin. It’s the cost of living that of late is raising by the day. The shilling still has some life although it is not as important as it was in yesteryears. That’s how come somebody can sell something worth 99 bob and not bother to give you a bob. And you don’t bother to follow it up either.
Here’s a site where you can see the history of Kenyan Coins.