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Volume 526: debated on Wednesday 14 April 1954

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Detained Persons (Care Of Children)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what arrangements are being made for the provision of essential body-building foods for Kikuyu children in the reserves when their fathers have been removed to concentration camps for security reasons.

In general, dependants of men detained under Emergency Regulations still get subsistence from the family or clan farms, or are cared for by the clans in accordance with tribal law and custom. In cases of distress, provincial Commissioners are authorised to give relief.

Is it not essential to see that these children have milk, milk products, meat or some other body-building substances and that they are not entirely dependent on grains because, as he will know, children cannot grow up healthily under those conditions? Will he look into the matter again?

I can only say that all our reports show that there is no evidence whatever that these children are in any way worse off than other African children for body-building foods or other such nutrition, and are no worse off in that respect because their fathers have been removed.

Will the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that Her Majesty's Government will take as much interest in these children and the conditions under which they live as they presumably take in the case of the prisoners at Spandau?

Prisoners (Tuberculosis)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what percentage of Kikuyu prisoners are suffering from tuberculosis; and what precautions are being taken to prevent the spread of this disease among the prisoners.

I will send the hon. Member the figure for which he has asked as soon as I receive it from Kenya. The following precautions are taken against the spread of the disease: Regular inspection by medical officers of hygiene conditions in all prisons; medical examination of all convicts on admission to prison; special diets and medicine for all convicts in low physical condition; isolation of all tuberculosis suspects; evacuation of all infected cases to tuberculosis wards in the prison hospital in Nairobi.

Is it not a fact that there is a great deal of tuberculosis in these camps? What action is taken to X-ray suspects and others exposed to infection so as to deal with them by isolation and every other means?

I have said that a medical examination takes place on ad mission of a prisoner—

I could not say in exactly what way, but it may interest the hon. Member to know that, during the year 1953, of the 160 deaths from all causes in the prisons 23 were from tuberculosis.

Police Reserve Officers (Ages)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the number of officers of the Kenya Police Reserve below the ages of 18 to 21, respectively.

Four and 85. Of the first group three are employed on office duties and the fourth operates a telephone exchange.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that his reply will give great satisfaction in dissipating a large number of irresponsible rumours?

Surrender Negotiations


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a further statement regarding the situation in Kenya, including the surrender negotiations with Mau Mau leaders, the deportation of all Kikuyus from Nairobi, and the progress of constitutional reform.

There has been no major change in the situation in Kenya since my right hon. Friend's statement on 22nd March. Copies of a statement issued by the Government of Kenya on 11th April, giving a brief account of the surrender negotiations, are being placed in the Library. There can be no question of deporting all Kikuyu from Nairobi, though action will be taken against anyone who directly or indirectly support Mau Mau.

Amending Letters Patent, an amending Order in Council and Additional Instructions designed to give effect to the proposals for constitutional reform were approved by the Counsellors of State yesterday. The Order in Council is being laid before Parliament today. The Letters Patent will come into operation as soon as they pass the Great Seal and the Order in Council and Additional Instructions are expressed to come into operation on 15th April.

Is the right hop. Gentleman aware that many of us will welcome the second thoughts regarding the deportation of Kikuyus from Nairobi? Regarding the surrender negotiations, can he say whether it is a fact that there were large numbers of Kikuyus prepared to surrender but they did not do so only because of an unfortunate clash which occurred? In the case of the constitutional reform, when does the right hon. Gentleman expect that he will be able to make an announcement of the members of the new Council of Ministers?

Dealing first with the second part of the question, the following "unofficial" have already expressed their willingness to serve in the following posts in the Government: Mr. Blundell, Minister without Portfolio; Mr. Have-lock, Minister for Local Government, Health and Housing; Mr. Maconochie Welwood, Minister with an Agricultural Portfolio; Mr. Nathoo, Minister of Works; Mr. Patel, Minister without Portfolio; Mr. O'Hanga, Minister for Community Development.

With regard to the statement which the Minister has promised to put in the Library, may I ask whether it covers the point referred to in the Press that over 1,000 Mau Mau had come to surrender but that, unfortunately, shooting began somewhere on the edge, and that the Mau Mau then retired into the forest because they thought this was a trap? It is a pity this happened because otherwise this period in Kenya might have been shortened considerably. Does the statement make that clear? Will the right hon. Gentleman also convey to his right hon. Friend and to the Government in Kenya that they should not be deterred by this unfortunate failure from seizing any opportunity of surrenders by the Mau Mau so as to bring this affair to an end more quickly?

If I may take up the time of the House I would like to enlarge on what was said before. There were about 1,000 terrorists assembling in the forest as a result of these negotiations, but under the arrangements made at the previous meeting on 30th March, it was agreed that there would be no land operations in the forest area until a certain date, 10th April. Therefore, no patrols had gone into the forest and no one was aware that the terrorists were actually assembled.

On the other hand, there had been no guarantee given in regard to the reserves, where it was necessary to try to safeguard the lives of the inhabitants, and it was in the reserves that fighting took place because, on 6th April, a certain number of Kikuyu loyalists were killed, bridges and schools were damaged, and military action was necessary. Contact was made with the gang on 7th April and it was as a result of the firing, which took place within earshot of the forest, that the assembled terrorists thought they were being led into a trap. Of course they were not, there was nothing of the kind, but they thought so, and they dispersed.

In regard to the second part of the question, I will certainly bring the views of the right hon. Gentleman to the attention of my right hon. Friend. Naturally we are disappointed at the outcome of these negotiations about which we were hopeful at one time, but the Commander-in-Chief and the Acting Governor are satisfied that it would be no good continuing to try to bring about a mass surrender at the present time. The surrender offer of 24th August, 1953, will, of course, still remain open.

May I thank the right hon. Gentleman for that further information and say that we shall study the statement? I am sure that the House will join with me in paying tribute to the officers who did so much in establishing contacts. May I express the hope that the authorities on the spot will not hesitate to take every advantage of any opportunities that may come in the future to learn from the mistakes that occurred this time?

Assistant District Commandant Howell And Lieutenant Hayward


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether Jack Howell, the Assistant District Commandant, and Lieutenant Barry Harvey Hayward of the Kenya Police Reserve, who were present when Guchu Gaithongo set fire to oil poured on the head of a suspect under interrogation and were censured by Judge MacDuff for attempting to suppress their part in the incident, are still retained in the service.

Barry Harvey Hay-ward's services have been terminated. Assistant District Commandant Howell has been suspended from duty and is being prosecuted for assault on evidence arising out of the Hayward trial.

Border Patrols (Masai Warriors)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies on what terms of employment and under what conditions a 500-strong Masai warrior army of volunteers are being used to patrol the border of Kenya and the Northern Province of Tanganyika.

These Masai warriors are unpaid volunteers who offered to assist the Tanganyika police in patrolling the Kenya border in the Loliondo area and preventing persons of mixed Masai-Kikuyu race from supplying Mau Mau gangs in Kenya and harbouring fugitives.

In view of the fact that the Masai are the traditional enemies of the Kikuyu, is it advisable that they should be patrolling this particular border at this particular time?

As I said, they are trying to deal with people of mixed Masai-Kikuyu race. But, as a matter of fact, not more than 30 or 40 have turned up at any one time and lack of interest has led to most of them dropping out altogether.