A legal fight is brewing in the newly launched Democratic Action Party of Kenya (DAP-K) as two former Ford Kenya members try to push out the party’s registered officials.
DAP-K was launched in December last year and is fast gaining roots in Western, Nyanza and parts of Nairobi.
The party associated with Defence Cabinet Secretary Eugine Wamalwa has branded itself as the alternative party to Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), Amani National Congress (ANC) and Ford-Kenya, the main parties in the vote-rich Western region.
Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi and his Tongaren counterpart Eseli Simiyu have associated themselves with the new party since defecting from Ford Kenya after a protracted leadership row and failed attempt to kick out Moses Wetangula as party boss.
However, the two lawmakers who only registered as ordinary DAP-K members on March 26, 2022, have since been crafting to take over control of the party which has mainly been bankrolled by CS Wamalwa with the help of loyal party officials.
March 26 was the deadline for politicians wishing to change political parties ahead of the August 9 General Election, according to the Registrar of Political Parties Anne Nderitu.
The two MPs’ efforts to take control of DAP-K, pundits say, would be detrimental to the party even after all the effort put in by Wamalwa and current office bearers.
Wamunyinyi and Eseli’s names were missing on a list of officials gazetted by the parties registrar, despite posing as party leader and secretary-general respectively in several rallies.
The gazette notice released by Nderitu last week did not have the position of party leader but had David Simiyu Muchele as national chairman while Bernard Wanjala Masanja was named secretary-general.
Wamunyinyi’s faction is said to be fighting for DAP-K party management through backdoor and intimidation attempts to throw out the gazetted officials.
The duo’s fight to take over DAP-K party leadership is, however, unprocedural since it is not sanctioned by the party’s National Delegates Conference (NDC) resolutions, coming just three days after the two MPs registered as party members.
Amid the infighting, Masanja has vowed to defend his position and that of all other party officials from unprocedural ouster.
Masanja and Muchele have already filed a suit with the Political Parties Tribunal to halt any changes to the party leadership. The case has been certified as urgent.
“We will not be cowed, we will not relent and let our party go to people with only personal interests”, declared Masanja.
Wamunyinyi and Eseli, sources in the know claim, are salivating for millions collected by the party in nomination fees which they hope to use to run their campaigns ahead of the August polls.