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Kenya (Natives, Registration)

Volume 154: debated on Tuesday 23 May 1922

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that the Government of Kenya Colony is now spending £250,000 per annum upon Native pass laws; whether this includes registration and taking the finger-prints of all adult males of the Colony; and whether, in view of the financial difficulties of the dependency, he will consult the governor as to the advisability of abolishing this unproductive expenditure?

There are no native pass laws in Kenya, but there is a system in force by which every native is required to register himself and to carry his certificate upon his person. The provision in the current year's Estimate for the registration of natives amounts to 214,209, and for the Finger Print Bureau to £6,775. The system of registration is held by many competent authorities to be of considerable value to the natives themselves, and I cannot admit that the expenditure on it is unproductive. The expenditure will come under review by the committee appointed by the Governor to inquire into the whole question of administrative expenditure, and I am not prepared to anticipate their recommendations.

It is certainly of great advantage that there should be some means of identifying individual natives. It is part of the necessary process for developing and organising the country.

Is it not part of the necessary process of enslaving the native worker?

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the advisability of extending this system to Members of the Coalition?