Leadership dispute rocks Communist Party of Kenya
Leadership wrangles have rocked the Communist Party of Kenya (CPK), with the Political Parties Disputes tribunal (PPDT) being asked to bar its chairperson, Mwandawiro Mghanga, from discharging his functions.
CPK member David Otieno Owiti, who filed a petition under a certificate of urgency, is agitating for the PPDT to declare that Mr Mghanga is in office illegally.
Mr Owiti wrote to the Registrar of Political Parties (RPP) about the position of CPK chairperson, noting Mr Mghanga was still its chief executive even though he resigned.
Through lawyer Obat Wasonga, he says that although Mr Mghanga claimed to have resigned, the office of the Registrar of Political Parties still recognises him as the party’s leader.
“I urge this tribunal to declare that the functions carried out by the chairperson of CPK, Mwandawiro Mghanga, are unlawful as he resigned from the position on October 10, 2020,” Mr Wasonga states in documents presented to the PPDT.
The PPDT was also told that Mr Mghanga was appointed a county executive committee member by the Taita Taveta County Government via a letter dated November 20 2019.
Mr Owiti said he served as the CEC for Lands, Mining and Housing until February 4, 2022, when he resigned.
“There is no process that reinstated him back to the position and our inquiry from the Secretary General of CPK has been dismissed as nonsense ,” Mr Wasonga states in the evidence filed before the PPDT.
Mr Owiti further accuses the party's top leadership of failing to perform their functions thus rendering the party dormant.
He urges the PPDT to declare that the CPK Secretary-General Benedict Wachira failed to keep his oath of office in record keeping of the general membership of the party, as well as data irregularities.
Mr Wachira has been accused of unlawful employment and dismissal of party staff.
The PPDT, comprising Desma Nungo (chair), Stephen Musau and Theresa Chepkwony, was informed that Mr Wachira practices nepotism and has engaged in unlawful solicitation of funds in blatant contravention of the Political Parties Act 2011, the CPK constitution and the Constitution of Kenya, 2010.
Regarding the CPK’s membership register, the tribunal was told that the office of the Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) wrote a complaint about illegal entries.
“Based on this letter from the DPC, it is clear that there are individuals in the party register who did not apply for membership,” Wasonga.
Further, the tribunal was informed that on January 23 2022. Mr Wachira allegedly wrote to foreign governments, the Chinese government in particular, asking for money.
“The first respondent (Mr Wachira) on April 4, 2022 wrote to foreign governments and parties seeking support of Sh15 million for candidates who tried their luck in the last general elections,” Mr Wasonga states.
The SG allegedly received Sh46,149 from John Cox, a US citizen.
The CPK political bureau is yet to be instituted and the SG has refused to initiate the process. In addition, Mr Owiti alleges the election of the party’s county committees is yet to be conducted.
In the petition, the PPDT was urged to compel the SG to initiate the process of a national congress in line with the CPK’s constitution.
The tribunal will give directions on March 22.