By Azael Masese.
Poor leadership and misuse of members’ deposits have been blamed for woes facing most Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies in Nyanza region.
South Nyanza Sacco (Sonyaco) Board chair, Mr Roscheus Otete blames the woes facing the Saccos on poor management of new societies.
“Financial statements littered with doubtful assets and inability to refund members deposits that run into millions of shillings are indicators of their lackluster performances of some of the Saccos,” he said.
“While they left with their assets they took loans and the liabilities remained with us. We still have about Sh83 million Non Performing Loans,” he said.
Those who yearned to have societies in the newly created districts were largely driven by selfish interests, he said.
Societies created from Sonyaco include Migori Teachers Sacco (Miteco), Rachuonyo Teachers Sacco and Suba Teachers Sacco.
During its peak, the society had a membership of over 14,000 compared to the current membership of about 500, he noted.
“I doubt if we can ever grow our numbers because the dark past might discourage one from registering,” notes Miteco board chair John Osewe.
Despite restructuring with the bank, the unpredictable interest rates have been an albatross, but we have managed to repay about Sh46 million,” he said.
“You are better off as a director of a giant society with 14,000 members than being a chairman of one with 400,” former Trade Marketing and Cooperative Minister Mr Joe Nyagah reminded the leadership of the region.
Homa Bay District Cooperative Officer, Mr Jared Abuko knows this too well. “There is a society in the town with a membership of about 200 and the chairman does not want to go out and get more members,” Abuko said.
This holds true as their neighbours in Kisii and Kericho are commanding a sizeable clout to their envy.
The creation of districts such as Nyamira and Gucha never split Gusii Mwalimu as teachers from these districts are still members of the society. A good number of teachers from Migori County are for example members of the Kisii based society.
“The same can be said about Imarisha formerly Kipsgis Teachers Sacco and it is curious how we were divided,” Mr Otete says.
Kisii County Cooperative Commissioner, Vincent Kenyariri cites blatant misuse of the mobilized savings coupled with mismanagement and for the lethargic performance of some Saccos.
Migori Acting Cooperative Commissioner, Abraham Amugune agrees, saying some chairmen leave their homes to stay in hotels with the expenses being met by the Saccos.
Siaya Cooperative Commissioner, Vitalis Oketch offers that residents of the region tend to politicize every aspect of their lives including the management of the societies.