Kenya (Anti-Mau Mau Operations)

Oral Answers to Questions — Civil Aviation – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th May 1954.

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Photo of Mr Fenner Brockway Mr Fenner Brockway , Eton and Slough 12:00 am, 12th May 1954

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a further statement on the situation in Kenya.

Photo of Mr Oliver Lyttelton Mr Oliver Lyttelton , Aldershot

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply my right Hon. Friend gave on 28th April to the hon. Member for Leyton (Mr. Sorensen). The main Nairobi operation has now been completed; some 30,000 persons were picked up for examination, of which about 19,000 have been detained for further screening. In addition, 4,500 have been detained on individual detention orders. 9,200 dependent women and children have been repatriated to the reserves.

The operation has been most successful. Hooliganism in the city has ceased, and the boycotts enforced by the terrorists on buses, beer and tobacco have been broken. There has been a spectacular reduction in crime, particularly violent crime, and the law-abiding African population has been heartened and reassured.

Photo of Mr Fenner Brockway Mr Fenner Brockway , Eton and Slough

May I express the hope that the right hon. Gentleman has fully recovered from the accident which he had in East Africa? In regard to the situation in Kenya, and the unfortunate circumstances in which the negotiations for peace broke down, may I ask him whether the Government are keeping their minds very actively on the question of any further steps which may be taken to end the fighting there?

Photo of Mr Oliver Lyttelton Mr Oliver Lyttelton , Aldershot

Yes, Sir. I think the Government of Kenya have done all they can to induce surrenders, and I do not think that they were very fortunate in regard to this incident. It was a very unlucky matter.

Photo of Mr Richard Stokes Mr Richard Stokes , Ipswich

May I ask the Minister whether any steps have been taken to intensify the loud-speaker appeal from the forests to get those people who were about to surrender on 10th April to understand what really happened on 7th April, and to let them know that they can still surrender under the usual guarantees?

Photo of Mr Oliver Lyttelton Mr Oliver Lyttelton , Aldershot

Yes, Sir. We have intensified loud-speaker appeals from aeroplanes since then, and the terms upon which terrorists can surrender have been very widely spread. We can only hope for the best.

Photo of Mr James Griffiths Mr James Griffiths , Llanelli

Will the Secretary of State consider the desirability of ceasing to send so many Africans back to the reserves? Is not there a very great danger that the reserves will become overcrowded? Whereas we all welcome the improved situation in Nairobi, there is a danger that the situation in the reserves will again become worse. Will the Minister call for a report whether the time has not come to stop sending large masses of Africans back to the reserves, which are already grossly overcrowded?

Photo of Mr Oliver Lyttelton Mr Oliver Lyttelton , Aldershot

That is one of the difficult parts of the problem. If we clear out some of the population from Nairobi we tend to increase the difficulties in the reserves. But I think the problem will have to be dealt with by measures in the reserves, rather than by other forms of action.

Photo of Mr James Griffiths Mr James Griffiths , Llanelli

Will the Minister take an early opportunity to tell us what steps are taken, since the information we have is that the overcrowding of the reserves is assuming rather alarming proportions?

Photo of Mr Oliver Lyttelton Mr Oliver Lyttelton , Aldershot

We have instituted a much closer administration in the reserves. The other outlet will be in bringing into cultivation some of the bracken areas, and so forth. The right hon. Gentleman is quite right in pointing out that this is one of the difficulties with which we have to contend.