The trial of the 12 members of the Communist Party of Kenya (CPK) who were arrested on April 7 (released on bond later) was postponed for the second time on April 12. Their identification cards were allegedly seized at the gates of the court when they appeared for their trial.
The CPK maintains that these members have not been informed what charges are being pressed against them. Proceedings at the courtroom were aborted within 5 minutes, and the accused have been asked to present themselves again at 2 pm, local time, on Tuesday, April 13.
“The only reason given for the postponement was that the case was yet to be entered into the court register. These actions only confirm our earlier sentiment of how desperate this corrupt government is. They would like to intimidate and silence any voice of reason,” the CPK has said in a statement.
The members were arrested by the police who raided their party headquarters without a warrant on the afternoon of April 7. The raid occurred after police broke up a protest organized by the CPK and the Hotel and Entertainment Workers Union against the unscientific COVID-related measures of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government, which have disproportionately burdened the working class.
The demands of this demonstration included the suspension of rents, compensation for job losses during the pandemic, food subsidies and a halt to the negotiations that the government is holding with the IMF for a loan that will push Kenya further into a debt. These loans, the protesters maintain, will only benefit the elite while the masses will have to foot the bill once again.
During the raid, the police allegedly tried to access the membership registers and other internal documents of the party, which legally identified itself as the CPK only in 2019. For decades, the communists had operated under the cover of the Social Democratic Party because communism was criminalized as an ideology due to its advocacy of class struggle.