A tribute to the fallen hero in cooperative movement

The late Murungi Kibanga Manyara

The curtain has fallen on the man, Murungi Kibanga Manyara, who bestrode the country’s cooperative movement landscape like a colossus for close to half a century!

The cruel hand of death has indeed robbed the country of its icon on matters cooperative law.

The late Kibanga, who breathed his last on March 1, 2024, after a long illness bravely borne, was the undisputed guru on cooperative law in Kenya.

He served as a lecturer for many years at the Cooperative College — pioneer Secretary to the Cooperative Tribunal — an accomplished author of four Text Books on Cooperatives that have been very useful to both the learners at the Cooperative University and to cooperative practitioners in general.

As a renowned scholar and consultant, the late Kibanga also undertook various local and international consultancies, including but not limited to, drafting the Botswana’s Cooperative Societies Act.

At personal level, I interacted with him more closely while serving in Thika where I engaged him many times to educate cooperative leaders and their members on the implications of the then newly-enacted Cooperative Societies Act, 1997, and the Sessional Paper No.6 of 1997 that had liberalised the country’s cooperative sector.

The man was not only a professional par excellence but was also fiercely independent- minded and of course conducted himself with impeccable integrity!

My admiration of the cooperative law guru drove me to undertake legal studies the moment I was transferred to Nairobi.

The legacy Kibanga leaves behind is that he truly walked the talk and was a very staunch believer in the cooperative business model

He tirelessly advocated for a movement that truly exercised autonomy and independence with minimal govt involvement.

He was a staunch proponent of “self regulation” of the cooperative movement as enunciated in the universal cooperative principles.

I vividly remember him recount to me what transpired during the ICA Centenary Celebrations and Congress of 1995 held in Manchester UK at which the “Cooperative Identity” was unveiled including promulgation of the revised seven( 7) cooperative principles that underpin the cooperative business model.

It is the outcome of this Congress (which he personally attended) that drove him to play a pivotal role in the enactment of the CSA 1997 and later on author the four Text Books for use by industry scholars and practitioners.


Afya Sacco Chairman dies

Am proud to have been privileged to interact with you at personal level and look forward to extolling the virtues you upheld.

Am certain that had you been in good health and had the opportunity to participate in the drafting of the Cooperative Bill anchored on the 2010 Constitition, you could have singlehandedly delivered one within the shortest time possible!

I remain optimistic that your name will be profiled among the few persons who left an indelible mark in Kenya’s cooperative sector!

Indeed, you will forever be remembered by all those who cared to appreciate your indefatigable efforts in shaping the sector!

Fare Thee Well Mwalimu and pass our regards to fellow learned friends who left before you, namely JJ Ogolla and DO Odhiambo!

-By Fred Sitati

Seasoned Co-operative Movement Consultant

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