By Stephen Makabila
In a rare departure with tradition, where leaders are the ones put under the spotlight, the State Department of Co-operatives now wants individual Sacco members to be alert and hold the leadership of their respective Saccos to account.
“We are putting Sacco members on notice. If your Sacco is not performing, ensure information reaches us at the ministry for action to be taken,” said Co-operative Development Commissioner Mary Mungai.
Mungai told Sacco members that they have a duty to put pressure on their leaders to perform, instead of crying foul when it is too late.
“Sacco members have to change and take an active role in the affairs of their Saccos by questioning excesses perpetuated by their leaders,” added the commissioner.
Currently, ordinary Sacco members have only an opportunity to raise issues concerning the running of their Saccos during Annual General Meetings (AGMs).
Some Saccos with a huge membership have however adopted a delegates system where Annual Delegates Meetings (ADMs) are held, with one delegate representing some substantial number of members in an elective zone.
She said the crackdown on non-performing co-operatives was still on, and will be scaled-up in coming months, indicating many co-operatives that do not adhere to the law were on the chopping board.
She said no co-operative will be allowed to operate unless it meets the requirements of Section 62 of the Co-operative Act.
Last month, the ministry deregistered Ekeza Sacco over alleged irregularities in its operation, and the matter is currently before the courts of law.
“The government’s stand is clearly to have few big co-operatives that can serve their membership better,” added the commissioner.
She further noted that vetting of Sacco service providers had already kicked off, and that those who have been milking Saccos would soon be out of business.
“Many saccos have already been swindled by fake service providers. However, we have already put vetting structures in place and that means their days are now numbered,” noted Mungai.
Senior Deputy Commissioner of Co-operatives in charge of Registration Geoffrey Njang’ombe had earlier told Sacco Review that it will not be business as usual for the increasingly vibrant service sector in the co-operative sector when the new co-operative policy is operationalised.
“There are a lot of briefcase service providers which offer Saccos programmes that do not work, yet millions of shillings are used to procure such services. All this is going to end because no service provider will operate in the country without government’s express certificaGion,” noted Njang’ombe
Most of the service providers in the co-operative sector offer mobile technological services, financial services and financial advisory services among others.