Kwetu Savings and Credit Cooperative Society (sacco), formerly Masaku Teachers Sacco, is now again flexing its muscle and inviting more people to join as members. And this time members don’t have to be teachers – which itself is not a bad thing because following the opening of the common bond, many saccos are now expanding with good results.
The question is whether the sacco will be able to regain and maintain its old role where it was truly the leading sacco not only in Ukambani but also in the whole of the former Eastern Province.
It was a key and respected investor in most apex bodies including the Cooperative Bank of Kenya. At that time, its membership was nearly 20,000 although those members who were active were about 14,000.
The management then was the one that had steered it from practically a few hundred thousand shillings capital to an enterprise with more than one billion shillings in share capital from a few rented rooms to its own multi-story building in Machakos town. Loans dispersed in the normal loans category exceeded Shs 54 million in a month with nearly similar amounts for loans under emergency loan category
At the last count, it was planning to put up a state of the art hostel in Wote, Makueni which was to have played a key role in opening the new town to fast economic activity.
But things didn’t happen that way. It collapsed with a thud – much to the surprise of its members most of whom naturally withdrew their membership and their investments from the sacco. It practically had to start afresh with an image that was in rags.
Now Kwetu sacco says it has rebuild the membership to 10,000. Its chairman Julius Nzioka, says the goal is to reach 100,000 member. He said soon, new branches would be opened all over the country after completion of the logistical arrangements.
Though not impossible to achieve, these are unrealistic goals for a sacco that is still a shadow of its former self. The first goal should be reassure members – new and old – that their money is safe and not only with words, but with deeds. So far, not much has been done in this regard.
And the situation for the sacco is made worse by the presence of competitors such as Metropolitan Sacco, who do not have black spots and whose management is more open, more sophisticated and willing to listen to member needs and suggestions.