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Kenyan govt sure of passing Cooperatives Bill this year

NAIROBI, May 22, 2024 -The Kenyan Government in Kenya recently expressed confidence that the Cooperatives Bill which is meant to streamline the industry will be passed into law this year after key contentious issues were agreed on.

State Department for Cooperatives Principal Secretary P[S] Patrick Kilemi said that they held a meeting with the Council of Governors and they agreed on delineation of duties between the national and county governments.

Speaking in Nairobi on Thursday during the launch of the activities of this year’s Ushiriki Day [ International Day of Cooperatives], Kilemi said that the issues agreed on touch on registration, inspection and agency notices which were the last issues that the county governors felt needed to be addressed to bring the cooperatives movement into the devolution dispensation.

“We have agreed on the issues and we are going to submit a joint memorandum to the National Assembly’s Trade and Cooperatives Committee which is collecting public views on the bill,” he explained.

The Cooperatives Bill which has been in discussion for about 15 years envisages a complete transformation of the cooperative sector which also includes Savings and Credit Cooperative Organisations [SACCOs] with the ultimate goal of assisting Kenyans develop through the cooperatives movement.

The bill also seeks to establish the office of the Commissioner for Cooperative Development at the national level of government and the office of the County Director for Cooperatives in each county government to provide for promotion, registration, and regulation of Cooperatives and as well provide for inter-governmental Cooperative relations and for connected purposes.

According to Kilemi, the cooperatives tribunal is the busiest tribunal in the country and the 2010 Constitution took all tribunals back to the Judiciary and members of the cooperative movement want to have the tribunal back.

“We are asking ourselves how the cooperative tribunal can have other alternative conflict resolution mechanisms to resolve disputes and also have the tribunals at the county level,” said Kilemi.

He said his team has had the discussion with the Members of Parliament and the Judiciary to see how they can make the cooperatives tribunal have that twitch of devolution and they will continue consulting to see how the cooperatives tribunal can serve members and be closer to them.

“Our wish is that during the Ushirika Day on July 6th we can unveil a new Cooperatives Bill to Kenyans because we have the good will from the National Assembly and the political leadership in the country led by President William Ruto who has led from the front in canvassing for the bill to pass,” said Kilemi.

He explained that the current Act is the Cap 490 of 1987 adding a lot of things have changed in terms of devolution and the new Cooperatives Bill is enhancing and breathing life into the cooperatives movement.

National Council for Ushirika Day Celebrations chairman Macloud Malonza said that the International Co-operative day aims to strengthen and extend partnership between the International Co-operative Movement and the Actors, including Governments at local, national and international levels.

Malonza said that this year’s Ushirika day will be the 30th United Nations International Day of Cooperatives and the 101st International Cooperative day to be celebrated on Saturday 6th July 2024.

“The theme for this year is, “Co-operatives Build a Better future for all” and it invites cooperators around the world to spread the word about how our human-centered business model, inspired by the cooperative values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity, and solidarity and the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others, is building a better future for all,” said Malonza.

According to Malonza, they have organied several Ushirika [International Day of Cooperatives] activities for 2024 which included a blood donation drive from June 11-13, 2024.

“We have also planned for an Environmental Day to be held on October 10, 2024 to be in line with the National Tree Planting day,” said Malonza.

He highlighted that the Ushirika Day celebrations will be held on Saturday July 6, 2024 at KICC grounds and the president will be the chief guest.

“We shall have exhibition stands on July 6, 2024 at Kenyatta International Conference Centre [KICC] grounds for the Co-operatives and our partners to showcase their products and services, innovations, and the milestones they have achieved over the years. This will create a platform for Co-operatives to learn from one another, recruit members and promote the spirit of Cooperation among Co-operatives. We call upon all of you to support this activity,” said Malonza.

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