Why saccos are opposed to changes in cooperatives law
The reforms will allow, by way of an ordinary resolution approved by the Cabinet secretary, creation of a class of members to be referred to as “social impact members”. These shall not be subject to the primary and normal requirement that each member has to subscribe and purchase a given number of shares to be admitted into membership of a co-operative.
In further amendments, social impact members will enjoy the right to attend and participate in decisions taken in a general meeting of the society and to vote. They will also have the privilege of being elected into organs of the society.
The Co-operative Alliance of Kenya (CAK), an umbrella lobby for the 15 million-member-strong co-operative movement in Kenya, in a letter to the clerk of the National Assembly and the Attorney-General warned that the proposed amendments will breach the long-standing policy and tradition of equality of membership that has guided saccos and made them thrive.
“Once a person is admitted into membership of a co-operative society, he ranks equal with other members in respect to fundamental issues such as the minimum number of shares he subscribes to and pays for (and) one vote irrespective of shares held and interest in the society,” said CAK Executive Director Daniel Marube.
“These proposed amendments, to say the least, have the purport and intent to sneak strangers into the room, who not only come to scavenge on the goodwill and institutional set-up of sacco societies, but also to attack and wreck the foundation upon which saccos are built,” he warned.
“These are not miscellaneous amendments but are major changes. We do not want those amendments because there have been no consultations,” Mr Marube said at the ADM held at Laico Regency yesterday morning.
He said if the bill is passed into law in its current state, then Kuscco will go to court, and added that they believe the court will rule in their favour.
Mr Marube poured cold water on this proposal, saying to create the special investment committee, advisory board and the special fund trustee is akin to creating “a parallel management framework in a sacco and allowing them to operate independent of each other without giving regard to interplay with the existing institutional regulatory framework.”
It is also most curious to the movement, they argue, that no politician has come forward as the sponsor of the bill despite the huge potential for political mileage that a law that touches ton the livelihoods of millions of households would attract.
Co-operatives leaders sum it all by wondering who the actual proponents of the bill are and what their motives could be, for the reason that even the parent ministry responsible for co-operatives and the sacco regulator Sasra have openly said they did not initiate nor were they consulted.
“Who wants to make a backdoor and illegal entry into the co-operative sector by riding on the SLMA bill? Who wants to profit and make capital out of the hard-earned savings built in the co-operative sector over a long period?” Mr Marube posed.