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ICOR Communist Party of Kenya got its name through against anti-communist repression

8 March 2019

On 5 March the Communist Party of Kenya (former ICOR party Social Democratic Party of Kenya) enforced the right for its name and symbols, hammer and sickle, in court against the Kenyan government. That is a great success against anti-communist repression. During long years of dictatorship the comrades had to call themselves Social Democratic Party of Kenya, although they had always understood themselves to be a Communist Party. After the defeat of the dictatorship, the promulgation of a progressive constitution in 2010 and the growth of the party the Party Congress resolved the change of name to “Communist Party of Kenya” (C.P.K.) on 5 January 2019. However, the Registrar of Political Parties refused to acknowledge this name and the party symbols. Their argument: Kenya is a neoliberal capitalist state and therefore cannot allow socialist/communist parties. The party went to court against this and organized a broad protest campaign in Kenya and internationally – and was successful! Attached you find documents and information about this dispute.


ICOR Main Coordinator to CPK, Communist Party of Kenya, 7 March 2019

Dear Benedict Wachira,

congratulations to your great success in achieving the legal rights for your Communist Party of Kenya and its symbols. This is not just a minor struggle over names. Regarding the present rightward development of many governments, often in connection with dismantling democratic rights your success is very important for all revolutionary parties internationally. Your result shows that you were right not to back down, but to go on the offensive in this issue. This success is an encouragement for all of us!

We will publish your document and letters on the ICOR website.

I am looking forward to hearing more about the event when you will officially launch the party publicly.

Very cordial greetings,

Monika Gaertner-Engel



Our Political and legal campaign has finally paid off.

6 March 2019

Dear Comrades!

Yesterday, the Courts adopted a consent between the Communist Party of Kenya and the Registrar of Political Parties where the Registrar was ordered to Gazette the name Communist Party of Kenya (CPK) within 7 days of the ruling, and to Gazette our Party symbol, the Hammer and the Sickle also within 7 days. From our end, we are required not to pursue the matter further (and also both parties will bear their own costs for the suit.) 

The consent was arrived at since there was really no legal basis for the Registrar to deny us the name and the symbol, and more importantly because of the political campaign that we did around the issue, including internal and international solidarity that we received during the process. 

We shall be appearing before the same court on 26th of this month, to confirm compliance with the orders.

We do not expect further potholes on this issue…..but we always remain prepared. 

Once the new name is gazetted, we will wait for 30 days, after which we shall hand back our old certificate of registration (for SDP), and exchange it with the new certificate (for CPK), and from then onwards we shall legally operate as CPK.

We are planning to officially launch the Party publicly after that, and we will write to you requesting your attendance, and where this is not possible, messages of solidarity.

Revolutionary regards! 

Benedict WACHIRA

Secretary General – Communist Party of Kenya



26 February 2019

Dear Comrades,

The Communist Party of Kenya (C.P.K) came into being on the 5th of January 2019, after the Social Democratic Party of Kenya (SDP) resolved in its 5th Party congress to change its name.

The Social Democratic Party of Kenya, in spite of its name, has always been a Communist Party with regards to its ideology, constitution, character and methods of operation. However, it had maintained this name because of the dictatorial political environment that historically existed in Kenya and was politically defeated in 2003, and legally removed from reality in 2010 with the promulgation of a highly progressive National Constitution (the Constitution itself was a result of protracted struggles for multi-party democracy, political rights, social justice, human rights and the struggle for a better future of the Kenyan people of which the Party was instrumental in formulating it).

It is with regard to this new environment and the growth of the Party that the Party resolved to change its name from Social Democratic Party of Kenya to the Communist Party of Kenya.

However, the Government of Kenya has refused to gazette/register the new name, claiming that Kenya is a neo-liberal capitalist State, and it therefore cannot allow socialist/communist parties.

This type of thinking is some hang-over from the dictatorship that was politically defeated in 2003. Some of those old elements still continue to work in State organs.

This decision by the Registrar of Political Parties has no legal basis whatsoever, and the Party has vowed to fight for its name and its ideology.

The Party has since 4th of February 2019 received overwhelming support from Kenyans many of whom do not subscribe to Socialist ideas, but are nevertheless in support of our constitutional right to follow the political beliefs of our choice.

The Party has already gone to court over the issue (where we shall have a judgement within 3 months), and we are currently carrying out political actions to counter those reactionary ideas. The activities have caused some storm in the Kenyan political scene which is a positive thing for us. As things currently remain (at least legally) we are still Social Democratic Party of Kenya.

It is in this regard that we also request for solidarity from ICOR and other revolutionary parties and organizations across the world since anti-communism in Kenya is anti-communism across the world.

We request that the messages of solidarity be sent to: copied to the Secretary General,

Parties can also send the messages directly to the Registrar of Political Parties in Kenya, but tactically we request that they be sent after 5th March 2019, that is, after she has filed her defence in court.

Long Live the Struggle for Socialism!

Long Live the Communist Party of Kenya!

Down with Capitalism Down!

Benedict WACHIRA; Secretary General - Communist Party of Kenya


ICOR Main Coordinator to

22 February 2019

Dear comrades of CPK Kenya, dear Benedict Wachira,

I heard about your dispute regarding the new name of your party and send you my warmest internationalist greetings.

Very cordial congratulations to your successful party congress and concerning your offensive self-confident actions I can only say: well done! We will publish your report on the ICOR website and I will also send it to all Continental Coordinators of ICOR so that they can inform their organizations about it. It is unbelievable how brazenly and openly anticommunist the registrator Ann Nderitu thinks she can proceed. With this she makes herself a lackey to the worldwide imperialists and wants to be more than helpful for her government.

Thomas Mann, an important German writer wrote: “Anticommunism is the greatest stupidity of the 20th century”. Your example reveals that the struggle against modern anticommunism is far from being ended.

Please, inform us if possible in a more detailed way about your party congress, its results, how the comrades have received the ICOR membership and how the ICOR organizations can support you in this struggle.

All the best for you and your comrades,

your Monika Gaertner-Engel



The Communist Party of Kenya (CPK) came into being after the Social Democratic Party of Kenya (SDP) changed its name at the Party National Congress that was held on 5th January 2019. While SDP had always been a Communist Party with regards to its ideology, constitution, membership and methods of organising, the change of name (and Party symbol) was a great leap forward both for the Party and for Kenya as a multiparty democracy.

The law requires the Registrar of Political Parties to gazette change of Party name within 14 days of receipt of the changes. The Party notified the Registrar, Ms Ann Nderitu, of the changes on 7th January 2019, and until now she is yet to perform this legal requirement.

Because of this failure to gazette the Party name, and after persistent follow up, she agreed to a meeting with the Party leadership and the meeting was held on 4th February 2019 at her office. At the meeting, the registrar told the Party leadership that she will not gazette the name Communist Party of Kenya because Kenya is a “neo-liberal capitalist State” and the governance environment is Capitalist. When asked to produce the legal basis of her position, she claimed that the Constitution of Kenya stated so (without mentioning any article to that regard).

She also stated that she had already approved the Party symbol (hammer and sickle), but she would now recall the approval from the Kenya gazette because she had been instructed that the hammer and sickle is a communist symbol and since she would not gazette the communist name, then the Party cannot have a communist symbol (thereby admitting to taking instructions either by mistake, or perhaps she doesn’t know that her office is an independent office!)

When the Party leadership demanded for a written explanation of her refusal for approval, she arrogantly said that “she had invited us to first inform and explain to us face to face because her letter will not explain the reasons, as is their (the ORPP’s) traditions. The Party leadership responded by reminding her that article 47 of the Constitution demands that she gives the reasons in writing. (later that day the Party wrote a letter to her asking for written communication concerning the status of gazettement of the Party name.)

In spite of her anti-communist position, the Party leadership went ahead and explained to her why her position was wrong, cited the relevant constitutional and statutory provisions that should guide her in making a decision on party name, listed the number of communist parties in power in countries which Kenya has excellent relations with, informed her that we have many communist parties all over the world, including in countries which are truly capitalist. The leadership gave her a ‘crash course’ on what communism means and on what the Party is/has been all about.

The Party also reminded her that Jubilee Party, which is the ruling Party, has made several trips to the Communist Parties of China, Cuba and others countries for bench-marking and learning purposes. Even the launch of Jubilee Party at Kasarani in 2016 was headlined by a senior member of the Communist Party of China!

While Ann Nderitu’s understanding of the law and international politics is pathetic, her understanding of Kenya’s political history is even worse. According to her, Kenyan socialists have always been against democracy in Kenya! The same socialists who, together with other progressives, were imprisoned, tortured and murdered while struggling for multi-party democracy and a better life for Kenyan people!

It does not escape the Party’s sight that Ann Nderitu was appointed as an acting Registrar of Political Parties at a time when the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) had queried/suspended her and some of her colleagues for allegedly stealing ksh 4.6 billion in the two elections of 2017. According to a public statement by the IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati, the Commission had already sent her name “to the EACC and the Directorate of Public Prosecutions with a view to further investigating, arresting, indicting and punishing all the culprits.”

It is absurd that in the current era where the Kenya government appears to be serious in cracking the whip on corruption, and where the Executive is blaming the Judiciary for laxity in the war against corruption, the Public Service Commission (PSC), under the leadership of Mr Stephen Kirogo can go ahead and appoint someone who is being investigated for grand corruption as an acting Registrar of Political Parties!

This has to be corrected if we are serious in this war against theft of public funds. The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) should also move with speed and support the efforts by the IEBC to rid of criminals from the Commission and the public service. It would be a great disservice to this country if we were to continue with the new electoral cycle with people of questionable integrity when the IEBC commissioners have already raised the red flag.

It also raises political questions on whether Ann Nderitu’s appointment as an acting Registrar of Political Parties was some sort of reward for her role in bungling the 2017 elections, or for diverting IEBC funds to someone else’s pockets.

The Party appreciates the solidarity that it has received from countless Kenyans who even though they may not subscribe to our ideology, they nevertheless stand for constitutionalism, rule of law and democracy. Of particular mention is the solidarity that we have received from the veterans of the ‘second liberation’ most of whom could not believe that in the current day and age, a registrar can refuse to gazette a name of a political party that had met all the legal requirements, just because she imagines that Kenya is a capitalist state and that plurality of ideas should be confined within such an ideology.

The Party also recognises the support that it has received from other political parties in Kenya that espouse different ideologies but are terribly appalled by this illegal decision by Ann Nderitu.

The Party shall be taking legal and political action to ensure that the sacrifices of the Kenyans who came before us are not watered down by one reactionary individual.

Long Live CPK!
Long Live Multi-Party Democracy in Kenya!
Down with Corruption Down!

Benedict Wachira
Secretary General

February 05, 2019

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