In my previous article titled Best Way to Help Kenyan Farmers Through Cooperative Societies in Kenya, I elaborated that the most appropriate path towards Poverty Eradication in Kenya is through the Cooperative Society Movement.
Now, in the Kenya we live today, it may be very hard to convince the local farmers or the local Mwananchi to form Cooperative Societies owing to the bad memories they evoke especially in areas where the Cooperative Societies existed before like in Central Kenya.
A case in point is the Land-Buying Companies and Cooperative Societies that plundered their members’ assets and rendered them squatters instead of landowners. E.g. Mboi-Kamiti Farmers Company Limited and Kihiu Mwiri Farmers Company Ltd.
As a trigger to this Cooperative Societies phenomenon , there needs to be an aura or a euphoria, or a healthy national debate about the need to embrace formation of Cooperative Societies. This can well be brought about by our Local leaders, The Media, Opinion makers, Spiritual Leaders, Political Leaders, Teachers, Social-Economic Pundits and Kenyans themselves.
The reason why I chose to discuss the role of Kenyan Politicians in Poverty Eradication in Kenya is because they know well how to raise emotions (this time positive), euphoria and aura in the hearts and minds of Kenyans. Although the other important players like the media will take over the conversation after the politicians talk about it.
Before we proceed, we can refresh our understanding of who a leader ought to be HERE.
Procedure of Preparing the Kenyan Politicians to start Spreading the Cooperative Societies Campaign
Now, who is this that is preparing the politicians for this noble task? It is the President of the Republic of Kenya in collaboration with all County Governors. This is because they are the ones constitutionally mandated to spearhead the development agenda of our country while the national and county legislators provide the checks and balances.
Despite the fact that all the legislators in County and National Governments provide checks and balances for their respective governments, it does not mean that they cannot spearhead the development agenda with the help of the government. In fact they are the most suitable for this task because they command credence, belief, trust and loyalty of the masses. Anything they say is considered as Gospel truth.
Whether you owe your allegiance to one political party or another doesn’t mean that you don’t want the people of your area to develop and progress economically.
By the way, it doesn’t matter who President or Governor is, whether you like him or not, whether you voted him in or not or whether he is from your party or not. It is a legacy you, as a legislator, will be creating for yourself as the leader who mid-wife change in your area of jurisdiction.
The President or the Governor should first understand the role of Cooperative Societies in development and the benefits they will bring to the residents, Counties and the nation at large.
After understanding, the President or the Governor should know the benefits of the Cooperative Societies in details, internalize it, own it and most important, love it! This will be through research and advice from experts, pundits and other leaders.
After it gets into his/her DNA, bone and blood, the President or Governor should share and discuss the idea with the cabinet and other governors in the 47 Counties so that they may also understand it, internalize it, own it and love it too. I don’t think there will be any elected leader who would dislike such a phenomenon!
It would be very good if all the 47 County Governors embraced it at the same time so that Kenya can develop uniformly. They would also maximize and capitalize on the synergy, euphoria and aura that would be present in the air at this particular time.
Now, this is the time when the rubber meets the road! Making sure that this Cooperative Society Gospel also sinks into the minds of most if not all of the elected leaders (These are MPs, Senators, County Women Reps, and MCAs). It is a daunting task but it is necessary because if these politicians don’t buy this idea, then the goose is cooked.
Yes, politicians will like the idea very much but they may have some reservations about you as a President or Governor, so package this information for them in a manner that the benefits far outweigh their dislike for you. Let the politicians realize that they can get even more political mileage from the people by embracing this noble course.
Now that you have most of the legislators singing the Cooperative Societies song, you need to have a small budget for that.
This is because of the constitutional requirement of public participation, logistics, information dissemination, and stipends for the people in the field.
Even if different areas in Kenya have different economic activities, climate, way of life, topography and cultures, all of them need Cooperative Societies to catapult their economic progress.
The intended economic activities will last for a very long time. So the politicians should not be major stakeholders in the different Cooperative Societies functioning and management. They should just remain the bearers of the good news and/or normal members.
After the Kenyans hear it, understand it, internalize it, own it and love it, the ball will now fall squarely on their hands to start now the conversation among themselves.
This is the best time now to adopt the Cooperative Societies formation. It will even be very easy for Kenyans to communicate with each other as this concept will now be embedded in their hearts and mind!
The legislators other roles will be to provide legal guidance and moral support to these Kenyans as they struggle to set up their respective Cooperative Societies. Kenyans Should not allow the politicians to take leadership positions in their respective Cooperative Societies. The reason for this is that in good times, the walk with them will be sweet but in bad times, especially when he/she faces political turbulence, the Cooperative Society can collapse due to the negative publicity and public backlash.
Conclusion on role of Politicians in Poverty Eradication in Kenya
Since we have established that Cooperative Societies are the best vehicles that can be used for Poverty Eradication in Kenya, politicians are the best suited to spread the word to all Kenyans albeit in a controlled and structured way.
For Cooperative Societies to stand the test of time, Kenyans should shy away from electing politicians to management levels. Politicians should remain as normal members.
After Kenyans form Cooperative Societies, all levels of Government should be ready to support them in all ways as the members may want and if it is practically and financially possible. For example, if a Cooperative Society requests for tax waivers on capital goods importation, then the National Government should heed to their request. Also if the Cooperative Societies request for Certified Quality Seeds and fertilizers from the County Government, then their plea should be heard and acted upon.