With the establishment of devolution in Kenya, functions of the cooperative sector were also devolved. Lack of effective structures at the county level has slowed down uptake of these functions for lack of capacity .Counties have since been relying on CAP 490 to regulate cooperatives within their jurisdiction. Schedule two (2) of the Constitution of Kenya gives counties latitude to come up with regulations and Act to regulate cooperatives within counties. It is in this spirit that USAID funded EMIRGE program implemented by Global Communities, under its advocacy objective, has continued supporting county governments to develop better cooperative laws that will stimulate the growth of cooperative sectors in the devolved units.
One of the county that recently benefited from EMIRGE’s intervention is Kajiado County that was supported by the program to develop Cooperative Policy, Regulations and Act. On February 10,2017 ,the document was officially presented to the Executive Committee Member (ECM) Trade and Cooperatives Kajiado County, Hon. Florence Mutua by Global Communities Country Director, Kimberly Tilock. Florence thanked the program for the support in making sure that her county has a better cooperative law. “My county has really struggled coming up with a cooperative act.The support by EMIRGE program is a major boost to the Trade and Cooperative ministry in Kajiado. We hope that the new law will create more vibrant cooperatives,” said Florence.
How will Kajiado County benefit from the new law?
The county now has a law that is responsive to the needs of cooperatives. This new law brings important benefits to the Trade and Cooperatives ministry in Kajiado as well as to the cooperatives within the county-both nascent and already established cooperatives in the following ways:
- The law brings an aspect of separation of powers in cooperatives. Cooperatives will be required to have two Deputy Directors-one to handle administrative needs and the other- audit issues.
- The law gives the counties legal backing for allocation of funds meant for growth and development of cooperatives in counties as well as be able to seek support from development partners.
- The law provides a same level ground for companies and cooperatives. This will encourage citizens to embrace cooperatives since, in the new law, a minimum of five (as opposed to CAP 490 that allowed a minimum of 10 people) can come together and register a cooperative.Professionals such as doctors(among others) are also able to form and register cooperatives in this new law.
EMIRGE has also supported Machakos and Makueni counties that now have better cooperative laws.