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Volume 345: debated on Thursday 30 March 1939

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what was the number of convictions under the native registration law in Kenya in 1936 and 1937, respectively?

I have been asked to reply. The actual number of convictions under this law in 1937 was 4,405. Unfortunately an error occurred in the mechanical tabulation of these statistics, with the result that the figure in the published reports was exactly double the true total. As regards the number of convictions in 1936, there is some doubt as to the correct figure. The number given in the Judicial Department Annual Report was 4,797, while the number given in the Annual Report on Native Affairs was 5,090.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what are the normal rates of pay for juveniles in Kenya?

The largest employers of juvenile labour in Kenya are the tea estates where, according to the Committee on Juvenile Employment, the minimum wage is 5s. per month (=2d. per day), but earnings in some cases amount to 15s. per month (=6d. per day). On the sisal estates, wages range from 4s. to 7s. per month, and only in the mining industry, where a day's task in many cases occupies only five to six hours, are they as low as 3s. to 7s. per month.In addition to cash wages, these juveniles are supplied by the employers with food and medical attention and, if employed away from their homes, with housing. On the tea estates facilities for education and recreation are provided. For purposes of comparison, it may be mentioned that in 1937 the cash wages (i.e., exclusive of food, etc.), received by adult unskilled workers ranged from 10s. to 14s. per month.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether there have been any recent changes in the penalty for harbouring a runaway servant or labourer in Kenya; and whether he is in a position to make any statement on the matter?

The facts are as follows: In the legislation in operation prior to 1937 a penalty of a fine not exceeding £5 or imprisonment not exceeding six months was prescribed for the offences of decoying away or unlawfully inducing a servant to quit the services of his employer, or attempting to do either of these things, or knowingly harbouring a servant who may improperly quit the service of his employer. In a Bill introduced into the Legislative Council in 1937 the maximum fine for decoying or inducing a servant to quit his employment was raised to £150, and the maximum fine for harbouring to £10.The relevant clause was redrafted in Committee and by inadvertence the fine of £150 was made to relate to all these offences. When forwarding the Ordinance to my predecessor in January, 1938, the Governor reported what had occurred and stated that steps would be taken to rectify the error at a convenient opportunity. An Ordinance reducing to £10 the maximum fine for harbouring was enacted in December, 1938, a maximum fine of £150 being retained for the offences of decoying, etc.