The Labour Party of Kenya (LPK) today 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.