Why Saccos cannot afford to be aloof as drought raves country

By Fred Sitati

The devastating drought being experienced in 30 counties in the country should prick the collective conscience of cooperators through their elected leaders to rise to the occasion by making some monetary contributions to supplement the government efforts 

We have in the recent past noted how key private sector players led by the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) and Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) have made separate contributions from their members to go towards drought mitigation efforts in the worst-hit ASAL areas.

Other humanitarian support continues to be received from some Development partners and other humanitarian agencies such as Red Cross and World Vision, among many others.

Being part of the private sector , it behoves the cooperative movement to also participate in this worth cause as it did during the covid-19 pandemic in 2020 where an adhoc committee(Cooperative Corona Response Committee(CCRC ) was constituted for purposes of mobilising financial resources from cooperatives to support those adversely hit by the pandemic.

The contributions so made went towards supporting the needy cooperators and ordinary Kenyans in various parts of the country.

Accordingly, in keeping with the Cooperative Principle No 7(ie Concern for the Community ), cooperatives need to respond to the passionate appeal made by the government to the private sector on a number of occasions to augment its efforts in supporting the most vulnerable communities that continue to bear the brunt of the drought disaster.

Here below are my thoughts on what cooperatives need to consider as both short term and long term measures;

a. There should be a consultative meeting between top cooperative movement leadership with the new Cabinet Secretary in charge of Cooperatives and his top brass to lay down a framework for raising funds from both cooperatives and individual cooperators;

b. Arising from this consultative meeting, a Circular from the Ministry to be issued to all cooperatives through the County Directors of Cooperatives.

c.The said Circular to provide a Paybill Number to which funds can be wired .

d. In my view, a two-week deadline would be adequate for cooperative societies’ directors to meet and pass the necessary resolutions authorizing contributions from the relevant vote heads.

In doing so, they shall be exercising legitimate delegated authority from their general meetings.

In any case, the English say, “Necessity is the Mother of Invention”!

e. Upon expiry of the deadline, the cooperatives that will have contributed shall be listed in the print media showing clearly their individual contributions for acknowledgement by Kenyans .

This would also be in the spirit of transparency and accountability. 

f Thereafter, the CS could liaise with the Head of State to set a suitable date for cooperatives to present their contributions to him.

The ceremony to be attended by cooperative leaders who will have made contributions to the kitty.

g.The cooperative leadership should take advantage of their meeting with the President, once convened, to table their expectations from the new regime top among them fast tracking the enactment of the Cooperative Societies Bill that has been pending for sometime now thereby exposing the sector as a whole.

e.The leaders should also take advantage of the encounter with the President to thank him for creating the stand-alone Ministry of Cooperatives and MSMEs Development..

However, moving forward, cooperatives being people-centred enterprises need to keep tabs on the takeaways from the on-going COP27 Summit in Egypt (where our President will be representing the African continent) and integrate climate change interventions in all their future activities.

Cooperatives need to do so by customising the various interventions that the experts will recommend at the close of the Egypt Summit .

All in all, the cooperative sector being a key private sector player should rise to the occasion and be on record as having participated in mitigating the challenges that Kenyans from 30 counties are grappling with through making financial contributions. 

They surely cannot afford to.stand aloof at this critical moment in the country’s history!.

Sitati is a respected consultant in the co-operative movement.

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