Proposed changes to Kenya co-operative law a worry
Kenyan co-operatives lobby groups are opposing proposed changes to the Co-operative and Sacco Act, which seek to give members with enormous resources powers to moot and control investment plans and returns from their investments.
In a memorandum to the Clerk of the National Assembly and copied to the Attorney-General and the Parliamentary Committee on Trade, Industry and Co-operatives, the umbrella Co-operative Alliance of Kenya (CAK), said the principle of one man, one vote and equitable distribution of returns in saccos and co-operative societies is going to be undermined by the proposed class of members.
“This special class of members only vote on matters concerning them and to the exclusion of the rest of the members,” said Daniel Marube, CAK executive director.
Currently, individuals admitted into membership of a co-operative society rank equal with other members in respect to fundamental issues, such as the minimum number of shares they subscribe to and pay for and they hold one vote irrespective of shares held and interest in the society.
These new members will not appear in the societies’ registry and will not pay any fee upon admission into a Sacco or a Co-operative society.
“We are still trying to figure out who is the mover of these amendments. So far we don’t know and it is still a mystery. We ought to have been consulted by the ministry on such a serious issue like this,” Mr Marube told The EastAfrican.
“We shall appear before parliament and present our case. There is no way such amendments can be allowed in Kenya because they are going to undermine the spirit of co-operation on sacco issues in the region,” he added.
The Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2018 proposes to establish a special fund whose resources are monies received from the special members referred to as “social impact members.”
The fund shall be managed by the members who shall constitute their own investment committee to determine the amounts to be contributed by each person.
It is feared that the proposed amendments would undermine the East African partner states’ plan to ratify the EAC Cooperative law. The regional Act was passed by the East African legislative Assembly in 2015 and aims to harmonise the national laws of the partner states in order to enhance regional collaboration in the co-operative sector.
Co-operatives in one partner state would be able to draw membership from other partner states.