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Screening Teams (African Leaders)

Volume 526: debated on Wednesday 28 April 1954

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6.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if his attention has been drawn to the request by Mr. Ohanga that senior chiefs and senior African leaders should be included in screening teams in Kenya; and what response has been made to it.

Senior African leaders and loyalists have been included in screening teams since their inception. Senior chiefs have not been included, however, as they are fully occupied in administering their locations, but their advice is sought when team members are being selected.

Is the Minister aware that Mr. Ohanga is presumably also fully informed of this fact but nevertheless feels that in certain circumstances senior chiefs, through their great knowledge of the background of people being screened, might be able to obtain more information through the screening process than can be obtained by the European officers who are normally employed?

Of course, I am aware of Mr. Ohanga's suggestion, but I do not know whether he really considered its implications when he made it in that it might mean taking senior chiefs away from their locations. African leaders who are very carefully selected are members of the screening teams.

While appreciating that, may I ask the Minister if he will consult with his right hon. Friend? This is a very important suggestion. I think that it ought to be considered and not turned down. If the chiefs can be spared for the work that will give clearer proof that the work is being done fairly.

I thought that I had made it clear that we are associating picked African leaders and loyalists with these teams. The most important thing is to allow the chiefs to do their own work of running the locations.