Government upbeat about The Cooperatives Bill passage this year

Patrick Kilemi, Principal Secretary, State Department for Cooperatives. Photo by Kimuri Mwangi

The government has exuded confidence in the passage of the long-awaited Cooperatives Bill this year after key agreements were reached.

State Department for Cooperatives PS (Principal Secretary) Patrick Kilemi said that a delegation of the cooperative movement led by the Cabinet Secretary had met with the Council of Governors led by the chairman of the Agriculture Committee who is also the Bungoma Governor Kenneth Lusaka and seven other Governors.

The PS gave the assurance on Thursday during a leaders” meeting and the launch of Ushirika Day Celebrations in Nairobi.

“We discussed issues to do with devolution and the Cooperative Bill. We have agreed on the delineation of duties between the county governments and the national government. It is on issues to do with registration, issues to do with inspections and issues to do with agency notices. Those are the very last issues which the council felt that we needed to breathe in the definition reality to,” said Kilemi.

The PS added that they had reached an agreement and they are going to submit a joint memorandum to the to the Parliamentary Committee of Trade and Cooperatives Committee of the National Assembly which is collecting public views on the bill.

Among the matters agreed include the role of the Commissioner of Cooperatives and that of the County Director of Cooperatives through the County Executive Member (CEC) for Cooperatives.

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The PS added that the Cooperative Tribunal is the busiest tribunal in the country and as per the 2010 constitution all tribunals were taken back to the Judiciary and the feedback they are getting from the members of the cooperative movement is that they want the tribunal back.

“We are trying to find a way to have the cooperatives tribunal to sit outside the judiciary because of the issues to do with cooperatives. The issues are so many, the issues are devolved and also the movement can fund the tribunal so that it’s closer to the people,” opined the PS.

They are also looking at how the cooperative tribunal can have some other alternate mechanism to resolve disputes and how they can also have tribunals at the county level. The discussions are going on in order for them to convince the Members of Parliament and the Judiciary to see how they can take the cooperative tribunal closer to members than it is right now according to the PS.

The Cooperative Bill was approved by the Cabinet in October last year and forwarded to the National Assembly. It aims to guide the registration and management of cooperatives in the country.

Meanwhile, Macloud Malonza the Chairman, of the National Council for Ushirika Day Celebrations said 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.

Macloud Malonza, Chairman National Council for Ushirika Day Celebrations. Photo by Kimuri Mwangi

The theme for this year is, “Co-operatives Build a Better Future for All”

“It aims to increase awareness’ of co-operatives and promote the movement’s successes and ideals of international solidarity, economic efficiency, equality, and world peace. The International Co-operative Day also aims to strengthen and extend the partnership between the International Co-operative Movement and the Actors, including Governments at local, national and international levels. Co-operatives have proven themselves more resilient to crises than the average. They foster economic participation, fight against environmental degradation and climate change, generate good jobs, contribute to food security, keep financial capital within local communities, build ethical value chains, and, by improving people’s material conditions and security, contribute to positive peace,” said Malonza.

Various activities are lined up for the celebrations which include a blood donation drive to be held on 11th June at the Co-operative University of Kenya (CUK) and outside the National Archives on 12th and 13th June. Tree planting will take place on 10th October 2024 to be in line with the National Tree Planting Day. The Ushirika Day Celebrations will take place on Saturday 6th July 2024 at KICC Grounds followed by a Gala Night Dinner at the Safari Park Hotel. There shall also be an exhibition on 6th July 2024 at KICC grounds for the Co-operatives and their partners to showcase their products and services, innovations, and the milestones they have achieved over the years

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