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Mau Man Activities

Volume 640: debated on Thursday 11 May 1961

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32 and 33.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) in view of the further evidence of resurgence of the bestial practices of Mau Mau in Kenya, forwarded to the Prime Minister, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, and the Governor of Kenya, on 3rd May by the hon. Member for Croydon, North-West, what steps he is now taking to deal with this situation in the interests of all the peoples of all races in Kenya;

(2) if, in the short- and long-term interests of the peoples of Kenya, he will instruct the Governor of Kenya to hold immediate consultations with the leaders of all political parties in Kenya, with a view to the issue of a joint declaration in support of the putting down of the resurgence of Mau Mau and the maintenance of law and order.

I have drawn the Governor's attention to material forwarded to me by my hon. Friend. The Governor has ample powers to deal with any threat to security and will not hesitate to use them if necessary. I gave details of convictions in connection with oath taking in reply to a Question by my right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) on 4th May.

Hon. Members will be aware that leaders of both the main African political parties in Kenya have already clearly and publicly condemned violence in expressing their abhorrence—which I know the House will share in full measure—of the murder of Mrs. Osborne. I am, however, passing on to the Governor my hon. Friend's suggestion regarding a joint declaration by leaders of political parties.

In view of the very regrettable fact that some ten years ago the then Kenya Administration was unfortunately not fully prepared for the outbreak of Mau Mau, and the subsequent fact of the terrible death roll of Europeans, Asians and 10,000 Africans, will the Colonial Secretary assure the House that the present Kenya Administration is fully prepared for any resurgence of Mau Mau and has all the strength and ability to deal with it should it unfortunately arise? Will he assure the Governor of Kenya that this House is completely behind him in firm dealing with a matter of this kind and the maintenance of law and order in Kenya?

Yes, I entirely agree with my hon. Friend. I am sure the Governor knows what has been referred to in the last part of my hon. Friend's supplementary question, but it is right to have it stated in this House and I endorse it. On the situation now as compared with some years ago, my hon. Friend knows Kenya very well indeed and I am sure he knows the number of police, for example, and the forces available now, which are entirely different and much stronger than they were before. As to the intention to use all forms of protection against violence whatever may motivate the violence, if anything, my hon. Friend need be in no doubt at all. The Governor, I think, showed conclusively in what was called "Operation Milltown" a year ago how swiftly and effectively the security forces in Kenya could move.

While thanking my right hon. Friend for that reply, may I say that I appreciate that the forces are there, but can he make certain that the forces know they can be fully utilised to safeguard law and order without any question of doubt in Kenya?

I am sure there is no doubt about that whatever. I have been in touch with the Governor for a long time on this particular matter.