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Evictions

Volume 498: debated on Wednesday 26 March 1952

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11.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been drawn to the eviction from Ndabani, Kenya Colony, of 500 Wakambas; if he is aware that Ndabani had been earmarked for the future needs of the Wakamba people; that the land has now been sold to the Harris Estates Limited; that the evicted persons have now been transferred to places like Mukueni, where a man is not allowed to have more than five cattle owing to the aridity of the land, or to the Wakamba reserve, which is one of the most congested areas in the country; and what action he proposes to take.

I assume the hon. Member is referring to the recent prosecution of 63 Akamba families for illegal residence on the farm of Captain Harries, which resulted in a magistrate's order for their removal. This area was never earmarked for the Akamba. These families had for eight months repeatedly been warned to leave. After the prosecutions, they were given time to reap their standing crops and provided with free transport to the areas in which they have been re-settled. I see no reason to intervene.

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether, in view of the land hunger of many of the Africans in Kenya, he will now stop the further extension of the allocating of land to European settlers?

That is a different question, to which I am not prepared to give an answer in general terms.

20.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies why members of the Kipsigi tribe were evicted from their land in Kenya; and if he will now take steps to return them to their land.

No members of the Kipsigi tribe have been evicted from their land in Kenya. I assume that the hon. Member is referring to the eviction of certain illegal occupants of Crown land at Kimulot which was aliented after certain exchanges of land between the Highlands and the Lumbwa native land unit. All concerned, including the local native council gave their consent to this exchange, as a result of which the Kipsigis acquired about 17,650 acres in exchange for reversionary rights to 6,500 acres.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the information I have is that, despite the court order in their favour, hundreds of these natives were forcibly evicted, that armoured cars and policemen were used to burn down their huts, and that their land was transferred to the African Highlands Produce Company? Will the Minister look into this matter again to see whether restitution can be made to them?

I have already made full inquiries and the facts are as I have stated. I am satisfied that the natives have greatly benefited from the arrangement.

In the course of his inquiries, has not the right hon. Gentleman come to the conclusion that there is tremendous and widespread dissatisfaction in Kenya on the land problem so far as the Africans are concerned?

I am answering a specific Question and am not engaged in general remarks. The local native council, the Governor, the Legislative Council, the Native Lands Trust Board and the local land board all gave their consent to the exchange which is the subject of this Question.