15 May 2019

Kenya: Tribunal Gives Nod for SDP to Change to Communist Party

The process of changing Social Democratic Party (SDP) to Communist Party of Kenya (CPK) will now proceed after the Political Parties Dispute Tribunal (PPDT) struck out an objection by a lobby group.

The party will now have a hammer crossed with a sickle as its symbol.

Bunge La Mwananchi had petitioned the tribunal against the change of name after the Registrar of Political Parties Ann Nderitu gave notice on March 7, 2019 and invited those with objections to present them within seven days.

However, on May 13, 2019, PPDT sitting at the Milimani Law Courts established that the lobby group had failed to prove how the issuance of a certificate to the party would prejudice its members' rights.

STRUCK OUT

"It is hereby ordered that the intended parties' application filed on April 9, 2019 be, and is hereby struck out for want of jurisdiction. By consent of the parties, the matter is marked as settled," the tribunal orders read.

Former Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara represented the Communist Party

Ms Nderitu said on Tuesday that the decision of the tribunal means that the process of name change will proceed.

"Whatever remains now is administrative work between us (the office of registrar) and the party leadership," Ms Nderitu said.

Bunge la Mwananchi is an organisation that meets at Nairobi's Jeevanjee Gardens.

APPLAUDED JUDGEMENT

In a statement after the tribunal ruling, the party's Secretary-General Benedict Wachira applauded the judgment, saying it has confirmed that CPK is indeed gazetted according to the laws of Kenya.

"The flagrant application by the State-sponsored busy bodies that sought to have the CPK leadership jailed for supporting communism and which opposed the change of the party's name has been dismissed," Mr Wachira said in a statement.

He said the victory at the tribunal was a win for Kenyan workers and the global communist movement.

RECRUITMENT

He said the ruling now opens the way for the party to intensify its mass recruitment across the country.

This is the second time the party is winning in its struggle for recognition under the Political Parties Act.

In February, the party went to court after the Registrar of Political Parties refused to gazette its request for a change of name.

The registrar had argued that the party's name could not be gazetted because Kenya is a capitalist state and that the law did not allow the existence of socialist or communist parties.

But in an out of court settlement, the registrar beat a retreat and signed a consent agreement undertaking to gazette the party's new name and symbol.

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