By SAM Alfan
The Labour Party of Kenya (LPK) has plunged into a leadership crisis after party leader Ababu Namwamba was shown the door while a rival camp vowed to block any meetings of its top decision-making organ.
The Political Parties Tribunal spelt doom for Namwamba after slapping him with a temporary order stopping him from pretending to be a member or official of the party pending the hearing of a petition lodged by John Baraza Makokha on March 9.
In an interesting twist, the National Chairperson of the party, Dr Julia Ojiambo, rallied in support of Namwamba and accused political rivals of seeking to wreck the party. “For the avoidance of doubt, Labour Party has full confidence in Namwamba. Any attempt to misuse the good name of our party and to besmirch the character of our leadership should be dealt with the contempt it deserves,” Dr Ojiambo said.
In her protest letter to the Tribunal’s Registrar, Dr Ojiambo, said the party was governed by the rule of law and could not condone “fraudulent actions” by anyone bent on destabilizing it through unnecessary legal actions. “No case, suit or complaint of any kind can be filed in the name of Labour Party without a resolution of its National Executive Committee (NEC). The party’s NEC has not made any such resolution or even discussed or contemplated such cause of action,” she said.
As the tribunal issued the sanctions against Namwamba, its Chairman Kyalo Mbobu and member Milly Odoyo directed Baraza-who described himself as “a believer in the rule of law”-to file a supplementary affidavit explaining his relationship with LPK. He had claimed that Namwamba was misleading the public and infringed on the political rights of the party.
Baraza had expressed his apprehension that Namwamba was likely to enter into political alignments and agreements with other political outfits under the pretence and misrepresentation that he was a member and official of the party. He said it was in the public domain that Namwamba was a member of the Orange democratic Movement (ODM).
He recalled that the tribunal made a ruling last Friday that quashed the expulsion of Namwamba and Masoud Mwahima but upheld the disciplinary action against seven other ODM members. They are Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya, his deputy Joash Mangi, Nominated MP Isaack Mwaura and MPs Stephen Kariuki, John Walukhe, Samuel Arama and Zainab Chidzuga.
The tribunal held that the seven politicians were afforded an opportunity to present their defence and were represented by lawyers during the party’s disciplinary committee meeting. However, Namwamba and Mwahima triumphed after the tribunal said they were not served with notices of the disciplinary committee’s hearing that culminated in their expulsion on October 31, last year.
The tribunal had suspended the action and directed the Registrar of Political Parties not to amend the list of ODM membership pending the outcome of the petition.
The nine leaders had protested that they had been kicked out for attending the launch of the Jubilee Party upon personal invitations. They had been accused of flouting the ODM Constitution that forbids members from any affiliation with rival parties.
Meanwhile, veteran journalist David Makali, has sued LPK, Dr Ojiambo and Peter Ole Musei, seeking to block the party’s proposed Special NEC. The notice for the meeting had been issued by Musei in his capacity as the party’s Acting Secretary General.
Makali, who claims to be the party’s Secretary General, said invitations had been sent out to strangers in a discriminatory manner and excluded legitimate NEC officials. He said Musei was not authorized or competent to communicate on behalf of the party or to convene any meeting of its leadership.
The petition will be heard on March 9.
Source www. nairobitimez. com