British Empire Article


by Terence Gavaghan, E N Scott, C McLean and C Fuller


Political and Administrative Priority Issues
The Transfer of Power: The Colonial Administrator in the Age of Decolonisation
Farming Improvements in Central Province
These varied from District to District, both before 1957 when the transfer of power began to gain momentum and later. Since field administrators tended to be moved every two years on average they experienced a variety of situations. The tasks of the administration were to maintain law and order, administer justice, collect revenue and stimulate and foster development of all kinds. In some cases, such as Central Province from 1952 to 1958, because of the Emergency, the maintenance of law and order had top priority. In others, such as Central and North Nyanza where litigation, particularly over land, was a popular pastime, the administration of justice made heavy demands on a D.O.'s time. The collection of revenue required constant supervision, but much of the task was effectively delegated to Tax Clerks who, with the support of the Tribal Police (later Administrative Police) generally did a more than adequate job. This left development which, then as now, generally depended on local attitudes and initiatives, the availability of capital and expertise and the resourcefulness of the administration and other officials of central government departments. The amount of time administrators were able to spend on development depended to some extent on how much they had to devote to their other responsibilities but, for the great majority, the challenge of this innovative side to their work ensured that most planned their time in such a way that they spent as much as they could out amongst the people away from divisional headquarters.

The Transfer of Power: The Colonial Administrator in the Age of Decolonisation
Agricultural Training
"One point I should like to make with all emphasis, having been involved with the post-colonial process of development administration (not in the narrow academic sense) in United Nations programmes over the past fifteen years, is that the administration of the East African territories (and no doubt the others) was not simply a matter of law and order. Development was the preoccupation, the pride and the pleasure of almost every administrative officer. Even the development planning process was well ahead in world terms. (The Swynnerton Plan for Kenya predated the 'Whitaker' plan for Ireland by some years). It is true that the Colonial power, Britain, was niggardly (or sometimes ideologically profligate, as with the ground nuts scheme), but the resources made available were expended with committed zeal by the teams of administrators, specialists, and missionaries, not to speak of the African participants, The charge that it was otherwise is either ill-informed or ill-motivated."
(Gavaghan)

This preoccupation with development was hardly affected by the political situation even after the first Lancaster House conference of early 1960. True, the D.O.'s barazas became longer as they had to include information about the implications of constitutional change and many questions (from African tribesmen and officials who were often worried or frightened about what the future might hold for them) had to be answered in these barazas, in African District Council and Locational Council meetings and on any occasion where groups of farmers or officials were gathered together. Very quickly, however, discussion would return to local issues concerned mainly with development of various kinds. As McLean remarks, however, "it would have been different had I been working in an area where Mau Mau were a real problem..." Gavaghan's account of some of the main events in Kiambu where he was D.C. in 1959 indicates what some of the issues were in Central Province;-

The Transfer of Power: The Colonial Administrator in the Age of Decolonisation
Dr and Mrs Kiano
"The position of D. C. Kiambu, in particular, was set in all the main ferments and developments of the time. My tenure saw the fall-out of the fighting emergency, the mass return of the same Mau-Mau detainees with whom I had lived, the apparent recrudescence of Mau-Mau in the guise of the Kiama Kia Nuingi with its, probably fortuitous, but cleverly exploited links with The (Nairobi) Peoples Convention Party, the platform of Tom Nboya; the emergence and election of a new wave of Kikuyu politicians and parliamentarians, such as Dr. Kiano, my own M.P.; the effective implementation of land consolidation (made possible by the emergency policy of villagisation) despite the opposition of the 'absentee' detainee landowners; the landless squatters and the multi-racial parliamentary lobbies that supported them; the rise and fall of the white proponents of multi-racialism, their replacement by former white 'die-hards', converted to the espousal and service of African power; the ambivalent attitude of the Government (and Colonial Office) towards African political activity where it confronted the last vestiges of the 'native authority'. Somewhere in all this, mention must be made of the sincerely felt, and classically British, attitude towards African 'loyalists' who had to be protected and sustained while the policies for which they had loyally stood and died were being abandoned by their colonial mentors."
(Gavaghan)

The later case studies illustrate the nature of the field administrator's work in some districts in the 1958-63 period.

Government Policy in the Districts & Relationships
The Transfer of Power: The Colonial Administrator in the Age of Decolonisation
Nyanza District Commissioner
There is agreement by the contributors of this paper that there was little evidence at the field level of government policy of any kind. There had been national development planning for sectors of the economy, albeit with separate emphasis on African land development, with the Swynnerton Plan for agriculture as the most well known example. At the field level the staff of the different government departments tended to busy themselves implementing their own policies, although there was coordination of an informal nature (D.O.s and colleagues from other departments working together at Divisional H.Q. and on joint safaris in their areas) and coordination at District level in the District Team meetings which were usually chaired by the District Commissioner). With the winds of change veering so markedly in Nairobi (and probably in London) perhaps it was not surprising that field staff lacked direction from the centre. Commenting, particularly on the period. 1959-62 Scott recalls "It was predominantly a period of uncertainty for the field officer, when colonial development policies lost their momentum in face of the prospect of an early handover to majority African rule, and when central government ceased to have any direct message for the field Staff."

Gavaghan is more specific:-

"It is very difficult to pin down, even by examples, the extent to which there were policies, but no policy. A District Commissioner needed guidance on a multiplicity of issues, from security (as late as 1952 there was high level evasiveness about the very existence of Mau-Mau, and from 1954-58 continuous ambivalence on the subject of the release or 'perpetual' detention of Mau-Mau leaders) to African chairmanship of African District Councils, to the allocation of land to Africans in the Scheduled Areas (The 'White Highlands'). A general impression of advance towards independence was given... but there was no apparent linking of the relevance of separate policies to this end, and certainly no.... explanation to District Commissioners upon which they could base decisions or risk dissent. As a result there was an uneasy fluctuation between service loyalty and a sort of dutifully mutinous liberalism."

The Transfer of Power: The Colonial Administrator in the Age of Decolonisation
Mothercraft Class
Most District Officers welcomed the freedom which an administrator enjoyed, after all, this was one of the reasons why many of them had joined the Colonial Service. "Even after due allowance for youth and the softness of distant recollection the scope for using initiative seemed endless. I personally was almost never instructed from above on what to do - except on e.g. organising elections on new franchises - and even less frequently on how to do it. Most of the time what I did was up to me rather than my masters. Unwelcome instructions could be and were avoided by a variety of means." (McLean)

Relationships with superiors were generally good and there are several reasons why this was not surprising. As Gavaghan recalls - "We were an elite corps of an elite system, created for the benevolent exercise of paternal power". One was made to feel at home early on - an 'insider'. "We all had quite enough to do without interfering with each other, though there was a strong element of my parishioners first, last and all the time". (McLean) One's D.C. or P.C. understood this - they had been there themselves and this was also their attitude in their occasional battles with the Secretariat in Nairobi. "I always felt a Kenya D.C. had a high degree of discretion to do as he saw fit, I felt very free to act, while at the same time was sure of the fullest support from my P.C." (Scott). The difficulties of physical communication made delegation necessary and officials from the Chief Secretary downwards relied heavily on the integrity and good sense of their subordinates. Despite this general picture of paternal D.C.'s and avuncular P.C.'s there were clashes of opinions and personalities. As one of our contributors records "....too frank an expression of opinion between D.C. and P.C. levels could become hazardous to career". (Gavaghan)

The relationships between the expatriate administration and the 'native authority (Chiefs, Sub-Chiefs, Headmen etc.) are not easy to analyse. At the personal level, with few exceptions, they were good. The officials of the native authority formed a crucial link in the organisation, between the senior administrators and the general public. "The close working companionship with the chiefs, headmen, tribal a vivid memory" (McLean). However officials of the native authority were in a difficult position, reference to which will be made shortly, just as were their fellow nationals who occupied more senior posts in the administrative service. Our relationships with the latter were also generally good, initially because they were 'one of us! and later because they earned our respect. An extract from Scott's comments on the Africanisation of the Provincial Administration illustrates the high regard in which African officers were held. "I wish to record our debt to Kenneth Hunter, P.O. Nyanza in the 1940s, who secured this appointment of the first African Assistant Administrative officers, who were a well-regarded group in the service throughout my earlier days, and provided some of the first African District Commissioners about 1962. By the early 1960's many African District Assistants were in the service in South Nyanza in 1962/63 the major divisional centre Migori on the Tanganyika border was entirely African-run, with no major shortcomings. About the time of the General Election we received our first African D.0. at Bungoma, a Makerere graduate who made himself thoroughly at home in the job much sooner than a cadet of former years straight out from England could have been expected to do... I had no qualms about handing over at Bungoma in November 1963 "to Mathew Mwenesi who was then taking over his second post as District Commissioner." (Scott)

The Transfer of Power: The Colonial Administrator in the Age of Decolonisation
Chief Nderi
The difficult position of African officers of all ranks in the administrative service referred to above (and this applied to other departments too, especially the Kenya Police) arose because they were regarded or had to operate, as though they were separate and removed from the nationalistic political aspirations of their countrymen." Gavaghan describes this as follows:-

"The concentration of effort on the building up of the 'native authority', as against the political representation, was debated as early as the 1948 Senior Devonshire Course and related Cambridge Summer Conference. (Lord Milverton, Sir Grantly Adams, Prof. Arthur Lewis, Andrew Cohen).- It was seen that the induction of the best available Africans into the Colonial Administration was 'scaffolding', while the democratic process, was 'building', but the dichotomy was never resolved, nor any real policy thrashed out. The result was that African Administrative Officers were, and were seen to be, on the other side of the divide from the elected members or leaders of political factions, to the detriment of both and of peaceful evolution. It has token independence for the two to grow together, parallel with the fusion of 'loyalists' and 'freedom fighters'."

"The ramifications of this basic practice (rather than policy, because it did not seem to be at all thought out) were very extensive. The apparatus of the 'native authority' was maintained, albeit often in a very shabby, low paid, untrained and uneducated form, (how to put into the hand of a Headman or Sub-Chief 37 shillings and 3 cents monthly wage?), long after it had been overtaken by the quality of person available to the main thrust of political activity."

"A dangerous gulf was opened between the 'loyalist native authority' allied with the Provincial Administration (and often with white settler and some Asian traders), on the one hand, and African political aspiration of all shades, ages and educational level on the other."

"I recall a District Commissioners' meeting in Nyeri in 1958, when I was unanimously outvoted on the issue of allowing universal suffrage for a proposed post of paid Town Mayor (regardless of former Mau-Mau affiliation) for the hundreds of new towns created out of emergency villages and land consolidation. It was decided that the 'native authority' must be maintained intact, rather than intermarried with the newly emerging pressure groups." (Gavaghan)

Thus, in commenting on relationships with the native authority, Gavaghan feels that there was "a fair degree of exchange of information and views, often on a cordial and mutually respectful basis, but I-doubt whether we were really 'talking' to each other, except at the level of the realities which we had imparted. Their own realities were occluded by the dilemma in which they were placed, between the colonial power and the people." (Gavaghan)

The Transfer of Power: The Colonial Administrator in the Age of Decolonisation
Local Farmers' Production Committee
Relationships with European farmers and businessmen and with the Asian community were "infinitely complex and varied, but always coloured by rank, influence, social prestige (not always on the side of the District Commissioners), which were part of the colonial situation. Individual warmth there could be, but this situation was essentially artificial and mutually uncomprehending." (Gavaghan). One was always conscious of the fact that being an administrative officer created barriers. Initial acceptance and friendliness in games of rugby or cricket would often change to a more reserved atmosphere when one's occupation was revealed. As McLean relates. "Relations with other expatriates, (i.e. non-administrative service) especially farmers were more difficult. Most of them, unlike most of at least the younger administrators, could not see that decolonisation was inevitable. They imparted feelings to the Africans that bore no relation to reality. With honourable exceptions they believed the Africans were and would continue to be better off under colonial rule. Sometimes their actions were so ill-judged as to be almost unbelievably provocative. We got on well as individuals but there was an underlying feeling that the administrators were selling them out which made it difficult to obtain the degree of cooperation that one would have wished." (McLean)

Notes on Kenya by Terence Gavaghan
The Transfer of Power: The Colonial Administrator in the Age of Decolonisation
Margery Perham
In preparing these notes I have gone back to Margery Perham's 'The Colonial Reckoning' Reith Lectures in 1961 (also see transcripts in side panel to the right)', not only for their acute perception at the time, but because she herself had for so long exercised an influence on the formation and moral sense of many of those involved. The following brief extracts may be useful in illustrating an enlightened and authoritative view of the immediate post independence balance sheet, without benefit of a further fifteen years of hindsight:

  • "If Britain's record in Africa is to be understood, it is essential to have a comparative picture of the Africa Britain found and the Africa she is leaving."

  • "Government with all its faults was a thousand times better than the unregulated contact of men, white, brown or black, armed with a new and terrible power to corrupt and destroy" (surprisingly reminiscent of J.S. Mill On Liberty 100 years before... "they are fortunate to find an Akhbar or a Charlemagne").

  • "Among many economic benefits was the security, both physical and economic, which allowed the infrastructure for future development to be laid."

  • "The defects of the service were less due to the faults of its members than to the lack of direction given to it by its masters, all the way down from the Governors to the British public."

  • "The office of District Commissioner should stand out in history as one of the supreme types developed by Britain to meet a special demand."

  • "What sort of men were these last?" (P. Woodruff on the Indian Civil Service - "The Men Who Ruled India: The Guardians").

    My own involvement was successively as District Commissioner (strictly not supreme type) between 1946 and 1959 in Mandera, Maralal and Kiambu Districts; as Under-Secretary for Localization and Training 1960-1; and as Under-Secretary and Ag. Permanent Secretary in the Governor's Office through 1961-2. A special task was that of Officer-in-Charge of the rehabilitation of 'hard core' Mau-Mau detainees from 1957-8. I was also (founder) President of the non-racial Senior Civil Servants Association of Kenya, in 1959-60, which involved negotiations with the Chief Secretary, the Governor, the Dep. Under Secretary at the Colonial Office (Philip Rogers) and the Colonial Secretary (Ian Macleod). I was released in November 1962 to the United Nations as Chairman of an international Establishment Commission in the Somali Republic to unify and reform the public services in the former British and Italian colonies making up the newly independent State.

    The whole period of my service from the end of the Second World War to November 1962 seems, in retrospect, to have been dominated by a number of confusedly definable influences, notably:

  • The parallel induction of Africans into the Colonial Administrative Service and into national political life as legislative councillors/later members of parliament.

  • The reform and expansion, (but not integration except at University level), of the three racially organised educational systems.

  • The separate expansion of local government in African and non-African areas.

  • The extension, and to some extent integration, of the franchise, and the gradual movement to parliamentary parity and majority of Africans.

  • The introduction of national development planning, again with separate emphasis on African land development.

  • The transport and communications 'explosion', which transformed accessibility to hitherto remote areas, particularly African.

  • The increasing application of external political and cultural influences, particularly American, Russian and Indian.

  • The halting steps towards racial equality and integration set off by the Second World War, advanced by liberal movements such as the Capricorn Africa Society and the ephemerally adopted concept of multi-racialism, leading to a pragmatic acceptance of African power, which finally disposed of any question of equality being a matter of choice.

    My more immediate experience must be divided into phases and roles:

    As District Commissioner, the often perplexing and mutually competing responsibilities of maintaining order while promoting development, both with slender resources; of facilitating the growth of political movements away from violence and yet towards democratic representation; of working, against a backdrop of mounting African restiveness, of European unease and disunity, of shifting Asian allegiances, with both genuine liberalism and determined reaction, with both enlightened policies and covertly restraining interests and influences.

    As Officer in Charge Rehabilitation, the extraordinary and unique relationship with many thousands of committed 'forest' or 'freedom fighters', whatever the term may be, gave unusual insights both into their attitudes and aspirations, and the formal and informal policies of those responsible in the Government.

    As President of the Senior Civil Servants Association and (at the same time) Under Secretary for Afrlcanization/ Localization &Training, I was exposed both to the varied aspirations of senior civil service members of all races and to the attitudes towards them of senior Kenya Government and Colonial Officials.

    As Under (and Ag. Permanent) Secretary in the Governor's Office, I was involved in the final constitutional processes, drafting, conferences, etc.; in the debate over the Northern Frontier District vis-a-vis Somalia and Ethiopia and, mainly as an attendant observer, in the web of relationships between the outgoing colonial apparatus and the aspiring and mutually competitive African politicians, both in and out of Government.

    Any views which are expressed inevitably reflect a retrospective amalgam of experiences from each vantage point. That of District Commissioner cannot be taken in isolation, even as 'The Man in the Middle '.

    Nevertheless, the position of District Commissioner Kiambu, in particular, was set in all the main ferments and developments of the time. My tenure saw the fall-out of the fighting emergency, the mass return of the same Mau-Mau detainees with whom I had lived, the apparent recrudescence of Mau-Mau in the guise of the Kiama Kia Muingi with its, probably fortuitous, but cleverly exploited, links with The (Nairobi) Peoples Convention Party, the platform of Tom Mboya; the emergence and election of a new wave of Kikuyu politicians and parliamentarians, such as Dr. Julius Gikonyo Kiano. my own M.P.; the effective implementation of land consolidation (rendered possible by the emergency policy of villagisation) despite the opposition of the 'absentee' detainee landowners. the landless squatters and the multi-racial parliamentary lobbies that supported them; the rise and fall of the white proponents of multiracialism, with its brief hey-day of favour from the Colonial Office; their replacement by former 'white die-hards', converted to the espousal and service of African power; the ambivalent attitude of the Government (and Colonial Office) towards African political activity, where it confronted the last vestiges of the 'native authority'. Somewhere in all this, mention must be made of the sincerely felt, and classically British, attitude towards African 'loyalists' who had to be protected and sustained while the policies for which they had loyally stood and died were being abandoned by their colonial mentors.

    Out of this background I have selected a small number of the huge array of problems large and small that confronted any District Commissioner. The criterion of selection has been, not only their intrinsic significance, but also my awareness of them at the time.

    General District Policy Formulation

    The Transfer of Power: The Colonial Administrator in the Age of Decolonisation
    Chief Waruhiu
    It is very difficult to pin down, even by examples, the extent to which there were policies, but no policy. A District Commissioner needed guidance on a multiplicity of issues, from security (as late as 1952 there was high level evasiveness about the very existence of Mau-Mau, and from 1954-8 continuous ambivalence on the subject of the release of 'perpetual' detention of Mau-Mau leaders. The former led to the death of Senior Chief Waruhiu who persistently sought to alert the Chief Native Commissioner's Office; the latter to the ill-advised 'leader to darkness and death' speech delivered, but not drafted, by Governor Renison to African Chairmanship of African District Councils (as late as 1959-60 the plaque recording the opening of the ADC Hall in Kiambu was inscribed in honour of the then Colonial Governor - contrary to my recommendations on handing over the District); to allocation of land in the Scheduled Areas - 'The White Highlands' - to Africans (in 1956 a proposal to purchase for the Samburu people several border ranches, with very tenuous European occupancy, was blocked. In 1958 two transfers of land at Limuru, one to a competent Kikuyu businessman for a petrol station, the other to the African District Council for an industrial estate railway siding, were disallowed). A general impression of advance towards independence was given (albeit with categorically no time scale), but there was no apparent linking of the relevance of separate policies to this end, and certainly no kind of seminar discussion nor explanation to District Commissioners upon which they could base decisions or risk dissent. As a result, there was an uneasy fluctuation between service loyalty and a sort of dutifully mutinous liberalism.

    The Maintenance of the 'Native Authority'

    The Transfer of Power: The Colonial Administrator in the Age of Decolonisation
    1948 Devonshire Course
    The concentration of effort on the building up of the 'native authority', as against the political representation, was debated as early as the 1948 Senior Devonshire Course and related Cambridge Sumner Conference. (Lord Milverton, Sir Grantley Adams, Prof. Arthur Lewis, Andrew Cohen). It was seen that the induction of the best available Africans into the Colonial Administration was 'scaffolding' while the democratic process was 'building', but the dichotomy was never resolved, nor any real policy thrashed out. The result was that African administrative officers were, and were seen to be, on the other side of the divide from the elected members or leaders of political factions, to the detriment of both and of peaceful evolution. It has taken independence for the two to grow together, parallel with the fusion of 'loyalists' and 'freedom fighters'.

    The ramifications of this basic practice (rather than policy, because it did not seem to be at all thought out) were very extensive. The apparatus of the 'native authority' was maintained, albeit often in a very shabby, low paid, untrained and uneducated form, (How to put into the hand of a Headman or Sub-Chief 37 shillings and 3 cents monthly wage?), long after it had been overtaken by the quality of person available to the main thrust of political activity.

    A dangerous gulf was opened between the loyalist native authority allied with the Provincial Administration (and often with white settlers and some Asian traders), on the one hand, and African political aspiration of all shades, ages and educational level on the other.

    I recall a District Commissioners' meeting in Nyeri in 1958, when I was unanimously outvoted on the issue of allowing universal adult suffrage for a proposed post of paid Town Mayor (regardless of former Mau-Mau affiliation) for the hundreds of new towns created out of emergency villages and land consolidation. It was decided that the 'native authority' must be maintained intact, rather than intermarried with the newly emerging pressure groups.

    The Land Question

    In Kiambu (and in a pastoral sense, Samburu) district, the land question was at the root of everything. It had underlain the KCA, Mau-Mau and the KKM and had enlisted support for the Nairobi Peoples Convention Party, and the landless/squatter/returned detainee opposition to land consolidation. Almost to the end, the land question was seen by the outside world, and by most white Kenya farmers, as being a clear cut matter of successive Royal Commissions having apportioned sacrosanct 'White Highlands' and 'Native Reserves'. Even the Provincial Administration was hard put to it to maintain or further the 'Devonshire' declaration of paramountcy of African interests. The political issue was not aided, (in spite of excellent work done) by the creation of a separate African Land Development Board, effecting a kind of benevolent, 'bulldozer apartheid'. The Highlands Order in Council, upon which the division was founded, remained almost unbreached as to its interpretation in favour of white exclusiveness up to independence, in line with the rearguard action of maintaining the 'native authority' and the 'scaffolding' of the provincial administration.

    Communication and Relationships

    The network of formal relationships elaborated into District Officers' meetings, District Team meetings, District Commissioners' meetings, Provincial Commissioners' meetings and so on (with some overlap at District level with African District Council and Committee meetings) afforded much opportunity for exchange of views, but this channel of communication seemed to become attenuated on its way upwards. Perhaps this was because of the nebulous (and often powerless) role of the Chief Native Commissioner/Minister for African Affairs at the apex; perhaps because the groundswell of opinion from the field met the real power of Colonial Office diktat only obliquely by being switched sideways from the Minister of African Affairs to the Chief Secretary - the 'universal joint' of a Colonial Government; perhaps because too frank an expression of opinion between District Commissioner and Provincial Commissioner levels could become hazardous to career.

    A corresponding set of formal relationships for the 'native authority', interwoven with the above, achieved a fair degree of exchange of information and views, often on a cordial and mutually respecting basis, but I doubt whether we were really 'talking' to each other, except at the level of the realities which we had imported. Their own realities were occluded by the dilemma in which they were placed, between the colonial power and the people. Relationships with settlers, businessmen, the Asian community, were infinitely complex and varied, but always coloured by rank, influence, social prestige (not always on the side of the District Commissioner), which were part of the colonial situation. Individual warmth there could be, but the situation was essentially artificial and mutually uncomprehending. (I particularly recall the surprise when having driven in full uniform with an elderly Indian member of a Parliamentary delegation to inspect land consolidation and he being amazed and delighted that a District Commissioner should exchange waves with schoolchildren, we walked together hand in hand into a large and hostile Kikuyu anti-consolidation meeting). As to communication with Africans generally, I do not think, for all the upstairs/downstairs cordiality that could and did exist, we ever could have been on a 'wavelength'. We were once told, for example, in the East African Standard that Africans lined the street to watch the Queen-Mother pass and showed their enthusiasm by silent respect 'as is their custom'. This, of course, was nonsense and the explosions of popular emotion which have been seen since independence give the lie to any such self-deception.

    We were an elite corps of an elite system, created for the benevolent exercise of paternal power. We could not be other than what we were, but we did not meet the people on common ground.

    Morale

    We have been asked particularly about morale and this is no simple matter. There can be good morale about bad causes and bad morale in good causes, each involving a value judgment. The morale of the colonial administrative service at District level remained remarkably high and fairly unified through all vicissitudes, largely because it was based upon a broadly homogeneous cultural background and training, with a sincerely held view of duty in 'trusteeship'. When I once complained of an 'emergency' District Officer having, in my view, behaved badly over a detainee matter, his District Commissioner remarked 'but of course he's not one of us'! Woodruff similarly recounts a story of a single discreditable member of the Indian Civil Service of 100 years ago, remarking with satisfaction that it is pleasant to be able to record that he was not an Englishman (Dutch I think). But there was another face to all this. There were opposed sets of good morale. The 'die-hard settlers', the 'hard-core Mau-Mau', the religious observers, all had it. There was even good morale about coat-turning that sometimes approached treachery. When Jomo Kenyatta had finally been released and was inexorably moving towards the formation of a Government of The Kenya African National Union, some extraordinary behind-the-scenes manoeuvres went on at Cabinet Office/ former settler Minister level, designed to supplant him by stimulating parliamentary support for Tom Mboya. When these failed those concerned readily fell in behind Kenyatta, as if they had never sought to upset him. Again, there was the case of African District Officers, chiefs, etc. closely allied to their European counterparts, who were allowed and encouraged (not in writing) to get on with the hard graft of security, interrogation, control, enforcement, rehabilitation, and so on, as long as things went well. When they did not, as for District Assistant Sam Githu, George Medal, he stood trial for murder/manslaughter (of a detainee who died of pneumonia after a blow), before a newly arrived judge from England, without any official submissions (despite urgent representation that they should be made) as to the general (and officially acceptable) background to the offending blow, or to his own remarkable record of 'loyalty'. After his conviction and sentence a collection was taken up to alleviate the damage to his personal circumstances (and perhaps to a few consciences). Morale was severely dented by such examples, which were not confined to Africans.

    To set these remarks in context, I should perhaps confess that, immediately after I had written a confidential memorandum to the P.C. in 1958 about the urgent need for policy guidance to District Commissioners in the post Mau-Mau period, I was hauled before the Governor and Minister for African Affairs (to both of whom I had reported directly on rehabilitation), accused of disloyalty and other defects affecting morale, summarily relieved of my post and transferred to Central Government for 'correction'. My morale and my friendships survived and my fortunes were later restored.

    Justice

    There is no reference in the guidelines to the question of justice and it can only be presumed that the promoters of the symposium have adopted the hypothesis that justice was as essential an element as constitutionality in the conduct of affairs of the time. Both, of course, depend upon the point of view. It would take a book to do justice to this most important element and I mention it only to ask that it be introduced as explicitly into the general deliberations as it will be implicit in the discussion of each aspect, (such as collective punishment, mass detention, villagisation, interrogation, the 'doctrine of compelling force' used in rehabilitation, etc.). I was too involved in each to attempt an objective evaluation in a brief paper.

    Hindsight

    Apart from the academic, historical and nostalgic advantages of evaluation at this remove from events, there is practical value in the analysis of certain aspects for their possible relevance to the Rhodesia/Zimbabwe (and later South Africa/Azania) situations.

    Constitutionality

    In Kenya we worked on the premise that there was a basic constitutional position to be respected and sustained in the colonial occupation of Kenya (indeed in the Sultan of Zanzibar's suzerainity over a ten mile coastal strip) and thus in the process of decolonization. In fact, it was just a question of power. We took it in the 'scramble for Africa', we held it, we would have been pushed off it. We chose to go a little beforehand, partly because we thought it right. I believe (and recommended) that a little less pomposity about 'constitutional instruments' and 'granting independence', as if freedom were something to be given away or withheld, would have been at least good sense.

    At the time that Britain took parts of Africa, (apart from by whimsy or accident) the policy was generally to serve the imperial mission by occupying the territory gained and thus keeping others (Germans, French, Italians, Belgians) out. Had we been able to see the policy of decolonization in a more pragmatic light, it would perhaps have been possible to get the settlers to see that, just as their presence was essential to resist the advent of other European powers, so their departure was essential to resistance to incoming communist ideology and to continuing good relationships between Britain and Africa. They might have spent less time on things like the Federal Independence Party and more on moving towards a mutually respecting and profitable separation on an agreed programme. Three essential elements in such a programme, highly relevant to Rhodesia, are cash, an escape route and interim security. Kenya eventually had all three.

    Kith and Kin

    This is related to Constitutionality above and is used only as a popular tag of the time to cover an attitude of mind which extended from Britain, through the Colonial Office, to the very doors of the colonial administrator and the white settler. The attitude was quite ambivalent and Macleod and Alport were important exponents of it. It consisted in the treatment of administrators and settlers alike as people who (although irritatingly related and therefore in need of protection for political, economic or family reasons) wer'e somehow to blame for the situation in which they were placed in the last days of power. Alport would not even admit members of the colonial administration to the Commonwealth Relations Service. He wanted a 'clean break' (as I asked at the time of the Conservative Research Committee 'with a dirty past?').

    No good came from this totally misleading and condescending attitude, which is implicit in much of the treatment of the Rhodesian UDI question. Britain controlled the colonies with its parliaments and policies, settled them with its people, guided them with its powers and finance and officials, and itself benefited from the arrangement. Any other group of British (or for that matter, European) settlers, placed in the same circumstances, would have behaved in much the same way. They need to be treated with respect but, if necessary compelled to comply while being afforded opportunities of escape and readjustment with their families elsewhere.

    Pace of Change

    It is impossible to pronounce on such a matter, unless one takes the 'right wing' view that 'they were not ready', or the view of absolute morality that colonialism is indefensible anyway and should be terminated forthwith. Nevertheless there were ways in which matters could have been advanced; in integration, in Africanization of the civil service, local government, and industry. There could have been an attitude of 'lets run ahead and see if they can do it', rather than of waiting to be pushed or threatened into responsive movement.

    Turnbull. in Tanganyika, may well not have been intended to be the last colonial governor but he (and Nyerere) saw to it that he was ahead of Kenya and with less resources. Conversely, Kenyatta is reported to have expressed the view that his nine years of imprisonment and detention gave Kenya and himself a needed opportunity to build up the capability of self-government. (The anecdote should not be lost to history of the Duke of Edinburgh asking him, as they stood side by side as the Kenya flag stubbornly refused to unfurl at the Independence ceremony in Jamhuri Park, 'are you sure you don't want to change your mind?').

    Law and Order versus Development Administration

    One point I should like to make with all emphasis, having been involved with the post colonial process of development administration (not in the narrow academic sense) in United Nations programmes over the past fifteen years, is that the administration of the East African territories (and no doubt the others) was not simply a matter of law and order. Indeed, there was not always too much of either.

    Development was the preoccupation, the pride and the pleasure of almost every administrative officer, with extraordinary results of infinite variety achieved with slender resources. Even the development planning process was well ahead in world terms. (The Swynnerton Plan for Kenya predated the 'Whitaker' plan for Ireland by some years).

    It is true that the Colonial power, Britain, was niggardly (or sometimes ideologically profligate, as with the ground nuts scheme), but the resources made available were expended with committed zeal by the teams of administrators, specialists, missionaries, not to speak of the African participants. The charge that it was otherwise is either ill-formed or ill-motivated and inhibits sound planning for the future.

    Afterthoughts

    Without the kind of colonial rule exercised in the (British) African territories, for all its faults and moral vulnerability, there would possibly not today exist a United Nations of 150 odd free and equally participating members, of whom nearly one-third are from the African continent.

    Furthermore, the infrastructure for the transfer of resources on the scale envisaged by UNCTAD and the New International Economic Order has much of its roots in the human and economic developmental achievements of the colonial period.

  • Nandi District, January 1960 - March 1961 by E.N. Scott D.O.

    Party political position

    The Transfer of Power: The Colonial Administrator in the Age of Decolonisation
    Nandi Woman
    Nandi was a political backwater in early 1960. The District Commissioner, Dick Symes-Thompson, felt it necessary to campaign to get the people to realise how rapid constitutional change would be after the first Lancaster House Conference which had just taken place.

    The Congo debacle in mid-1960 seriously alarmed the Nandi, raising the spectre of a disastrous premature independence for Kenya. It is likely to have been one of the factors that prompted them to support the Kenya African Democratic Union (KADU), an alliance of the pastoral, coastal and certain west Kenya tribes, formed about August of that year when national political parties were once again allowed.

    The General Election of early 1961 was a foregone conclusion. The KADU nominations were won by the more sophisticated Nairobi politicians who although originally from the area took little interest in district affairs before or after the elections but managed to sweep the board on the day. Kenya African National Union (KANU) candidates made little impact in the district. The election, on a limited franchise, was a good-humoured affair.

    Political and consequent administrative priority issues.

    During my period as Acting District Commissioner I continued the policy of alerting the Nandi to the rapid acceleration of political change. From July onwards I had to devote much effort to reassuring them that the British would not do a bunk, Congo-style, and leave them with a ruined country.

    The one major conflict of my time in Nandi arose from my pressing land registration and water reticulation in one area of North Nandi. The scheme was well under way when I took over, with the support of the majority of the landholders. But a small, vocal minority objected, prompted by a leading Nyanza politician who was restricted to that area. I was encouraged by the older Chiefs to insist on the completion of the scheme, but the matter was not so easily resolved as it proved a convenient rallying point for the younger politicians. The Provincial Commissioner, Jack Wolff, told me that Government did not want development pressed against the wishes of the people, and there matters rested, to be resolved by Dick Symes-Thompson on his return from leave. Similar programmes continued unhampered in other areas of the district.

    Apart from these preoccupations I continued the administration and development of the district, working closely with the smallholder development. Towards the end of my time as Acting D.C. manpower resources were shifted from development work to cope with the registration of voters for the 1961 General Election. Officers of the other departments felt that I had made unnecessary calls on their staffs for help with this task, which proved not to be as heavy as I had expected.

    South Nyanza District, November 1962 - March 1965 by E.N. Scott D.O.

    Party political position

    The district was the home of the great (now greatly-lamented) Tom Mboya, but Nairobi was his power base and he played little part in district affairs during my short time there.

    The district was pro-KANU to a man, but in this period I recall no significant political activity. The census of 1962, on which future district representation was to be based, was over before I arrived, and the election of 1963 was still to come when I left.

    Political and administrative priority issues

    As I have said, politics had minimal impact on this district's affairs during my time.

    Before going on leave in early 1962 I had informed the Secretariat of my wish to undertake the role of District Officer to one of the new African District Commissioners, the first of whom were taking up their positions about that period. Soon after my arrival in South Nyanza my request was granted with the appointment as D.C. of Ezekiel Josiah. All I knew about him was that he had only quite recently been appointed a District Officer, and I recall wondering what it would be like to work for a young and inexperienced man in such a senior position. However when I looked him up in the Staff List I found he had joined the Service about the time I was born. He needed none of the propping that I had expected to have to provide in the role I had volunteered for. I don't recall that he wrote many letters, but he was good on the telephone and in face-to-face contact with callers and in barazas.

    The Transfer of Power: The Colonial Administrator in the Age of Decolonisation
    Harvest Time in Nyanza
    Not that South Nyanza was a difficult district to run at that period. When the D.C. had a serious motor accident in early 1963 and was away for a month to six weeks and I had to mind the store I had no difficulty in combining the largely routine duties of D.O. with keeping an eye on matters that were the proper concern of the D.C.

    The one near-crisis was the threatened African civil servants' strike of early 1963. The caretaker government with an African Minister of Finance, Tiad refused them a pay rise, and the entire work force was to come out. I recall being invited to an eve-of-strike meeting in the District Clerk's office, next to my own. They were worried about my reaction as de facto District Commissioner, and I suspect also because there had not been a strike in the service before. I did not see any important consequences for government in tha.t district and was mainly concerned about ongoing relationships within the service. I assured the meeting that as a fellow trade unionist (as indeed I was, as a member of the Senior Civil Servants' Association) I did not criticise their proposed action, and neither I, nor any member, of my association would perform the functions of any striking officer. I did however urge them not to let any equipment in their charge get damaged, and not to let their standing in the eyes of the African public suffer in any way. They were plainly relieved at my taking this line. In the-event, as far as I can recall, the dispute was settled and the strike was called off before it ever started.

    In my last weeks in South Nyanza I was initiating preparations for the 1963 General Elections, and considering the vast population and the limited manpower resources I felt that whoever was going to be responsible on the day would have his hands full.

    Bungoma, District, March - November 1965 by E.N. Scott D.O.

    Party political position

    The Transfer of Power: The Colonial Administrator in the Age of Decolonisation
    Mount Elgon
    Bungoma (or Elgon Nyaza as it was when I first took over) must have been one of the most deeply divided districts politically in the country at that time. The predominant Abaluhya population was mainly pro-KADU, but one of their sub-tribes on the boundary with Kakamega supported the main nationalist party. The area that gave most concern was on the slopes of Mount Elgon, in the north of the district, where the ethnically distinct Elgon Masai had secured a constituency of their own when parliamentary boundaries were redrawn after the 1962 census. Even though the population of this constituency was only about half that of either of the other two in the district, the Elgon Masai were only a bare majority of its population, the rest being mainly Bukusu. This did not stop the Elgon Masai from regarding it as their constituency, from which their candidate should be returned unopposed. As they chose to back the opposite party (KANU) to that of the Bukusu majority of the rest of the district, great tension - and later considerable disorder - followed from this situation.

    The Transfer of Power: The Colonial Administrator in the Age of Decolonisation
    Shikuku, Odinga and Muliro
    Only one national political figure, was associated with the district at this time. This was Masinde Muliro, who had entered the Legislative Council at the first African elections in 1957, and had been one of the founding fathers of KADU in 1960. Although still representing the district when I arrived, he had chosen to make his future power base the neighbouring town of Kitale, in Trans-Nzoia District in the former White Highlands. He descended on Bungoma District frequently during the election campaign when he was of course still a minister in the caretaker government.

    The 1963 election was the largest of its kind yet held in Kenya (or since, I suspect) as it was: the first with full adult franchise and on a common roll. It involved separate elections, each lasting two days of polling, for the new Regional Assemblies, for the Senate, another-new institution, and the House of Representatives, in that order, the whole extending over a ten day period. In Bungoma it provided for the election of one Senator, three Members of the House of Representatives, and no less than nine Members of the Regional Assembly. The overt issues were immediate independence under Jomo Kenyatta (the KANU platform) versus the establishment of a confederal Kenya based on strong Regional Assemblies (KADU).

    I must say I despaired of the regional government system, on nomination day when I saw the poor quality of candidates offering themselves. I should add here that a dozen or so more ambitious people had staked their political future on the four senior seats, that is to say, for the National Assembly. The next thirty or more aspiring politicians in this mediumsized district, which had never before sent more than one member to a representative body outside the district, were the contenders for the regional seats.) The underlying issue for the local majority party (KADU) was the defence of the tribal homeland through the development of suitable alliances.

    Malcolm Macdonald's master-stroke as Governor was the decision to allow Internal Self-Government immediately after the election. This was a giant step towards early independence. At the same time it was the death-knell of the Regionalism which KADU had fought so hard to achieve. If there had been a period' of some months, better still a year, between the election and self-government, the Regional Government system would have had a change to get established. (I write not as a supporter of the notion but as an observer very much participant in the situation.) Instead it was strangled at birth by the KANU government.

    Political and administrative priority issues

    In the Pre-General Election period, I took over the old Elgon Nyanza District about two months before the great upheaval of the General Election. In this period I had to:-

    1. maintain security in a notoriously inflammable district, the point of origin of the Dini-ya-Msambwa troubles a decade earlier;

    2. hand over the western third of the district to be incorporated into the new Busia District, a last minute political creation to bring the future Western Region's complement of districts up to three - the rest of the district being formed from the Abaluhya areas of the old Central Nyanza;

    3. provide physical and moral support to the staff of this new district, which was being established with no capital input from Central Government;

    4. administer the old Elgon Nyanza African District Council 'in commission' until its responsibilities and assets could be taken over by the future Bungoma and Busia County Councils;

    5. make physical preparations for the six days of polling at widely scattered points throughout the district;

    6. hold the ring for the competing politicians and their respective supporters during the election campaign, a task of some delicacy in view of 1 above and the political situation already described. In practice this meant licensing political meetings after a weekly meeting in my office with all candidates, listening to their complaints against each other and generally keeping an ear to the ground;

    7. maintain existing development policies (aid to better farmers, land registration and water reticulation in selected areas) and routine district administration.

    I felt I had minimal experience for a task of this nature, though certainly the difficulties in Nandi had alerted me to some of the problems of dealing with political situations. I also had minimal staff resources, particularly after my D.O. was removed to go and fight a fire somewhere else a fortnight after I arrived, and his replacement only arrived after the elections. I had a most supportive and encouraging boss In Bob Wilson as Provincial Commissioner at Kakemega, only an hour's drive away. It also helped that financial resources for the election were virtually unlimited - we could spend as required from the D.C.'s votes to set up the administrative machinery for polling. I should add that I had in Abdul Naag, our Pakistani District Assistant, a most capable executive officer for the administration of the election.

    All in all, I had to cope with a complex and quite open ended situation in a period of great tension. With the rest of the country going through the same 'traumas there was no-one available to help if very much went wrong.

    As for the post-General Election period, I have chosen not to go into detail on the election itself. It was a nightmare period of constant activity, stress, near-breakdown in the early stages until the polling machinery got run in, and we were glad to be able to call on a company of the military to show the flag in the tricky Mount Elgon area.

    When the dust settled and counting was over I found myself in an internally self-governing Kenya but with my role changed from District Commissioner to Regional Government Agent, answerable (as I then understood matters) to the elected assembly at Kakamega, where my boss was now Civil Secretary,

    One early issue was to establish the financial and establishment consequences of Regional Government. Under the Constitution the Central Government had to transfer the necessary revenue and field staff to the Regional Governments, and we were deluged with paper from the. Secretariat on preparations these changes. African officers were to have the option to transfer to the Region.of their choice: as far as I can recall expatriates were to be seconded. I debated with Keith Foot, my opposite number at Busia, where our loyalties lay. For him no 'mucking around with constitutions' made him anything but a servant of the central government of the day, and therefore a Kenyatta man. I on the other hand understood my duty, in my new role, to lie towards the Regional Assembly.

    The Transfer of Power: The Colonial Administrator in the Age of Decolonisation
    Oginga Odinga
    Any doubts were cleared up when the new Minister for Home Affairs, the redoubtable veteran Nyanza politician Oginga Odinga, visited the Region perhaps six weeks after the election. The Minister called all the Administrative Officers in the new Region together at Kakemega and told us there would be no transfers of staff or funds to regional control until the Regional Assemblies were clearly capable of administering them responsibly. In the event this never happened, and the regional system finally lost all significance when the KANU government, crossed the floor in late 1964, linking up with the former KADU opposition and clipping the wings of its own radical supporters. I therefore continued nominally as Regional Government Agent, but for most practical purposes was the direct representative of the Central Government.

    For most practical purposes responsibility for law and order was transferred to the Police, a matter of immediate relevance in Bungoma from the first weeks of Internal Self-Government. Our success in keeping the parties from each other's throats during the election period had an unhappy sequel about a fortnight after the end of counting, when the two distinct tribal elements in the Mount Elgon area set on each other, leaving a number of dead and some hundreds of houses burnt down. Operational control in such a situation now lay with the police, and I put the bulk of the Tribal Police (later to be known as Administrative Police) under the control of the capable African Assistant Superintendent of Police for the duration of the troubles. I was instructed by the Civil Secretary to keep out of active operations, and found my own most useful role in this situation was as a rear link in support of the police commander, negotiating, the provision of General Service Unit (para-military police) reinforcements from national resources. I do not recall the details, but I believe the constitution had important provisions about G.S.U. reinforcements crossing regional boundaries. Matters calmed down after a week or so of arson and general disorder. No ring-leaders were ever identified; curfew-breakers and other minor offenders were allowed to go home after a period on remand, the confiscation of their weapons and the payment of small fines. A Commission of Enquiry sat many months after the event but as far as I know never published its findings - a reflection, I believe, of the KANU/KADU rapprochement of late 1964.

    All else seems in retrospect to have been anti-climax. A visit by Jomo Kenyatta as Chief Minister to this strongly KADU district in August passed off unexpectedly most amicably. It must have played some part in demonstrating to the people that the elaborate Regional system was a defence against potentially friendly forces.

    Once the Mount Elgon upset had subsided I set about running the County Council elections, which passed off peacefully in October. As Returning Officer I played a potentially dangerous and no doubt improper role in dissuading a Bukusu candidate from standing in the Mount Elgon area. I was sensitive to the anxieties of the Elgon Masai about their representation in the new County Council. As it turned out the Bukusu candidate, who appreciated that what I was trying to do was for the peace of that turbulent area, nearly got lynched by his own supporters outside the office where I had been receiving nominations, so I had to let him put in his papers after all.

    Neither Central Government nor the Regional Government appeared for the moment to have the least interest in determining district development policies, and we staff at district level carried on with what seemed good to us and the local people: the encouragement of better farming and in particular the process in a few gazetted areas of land adjudication and registration. In fact (although this is not properly part of my story here) it was years rather than months before the Central Government had much idea of what its policies should be in rural development.

    I could have stayed on for some months at least as Regional Government Agent. In spite of my ambiguous position I found myself persona grata with both the Regional assembly and with the new African Civil Secretary, Sila Beit, an old friend from my days in Nandi, who was of course the central governments Provincial Commissioner in all but name. However with a very young family I found deteriorating living conditions and particularly worsening medical facilities too great a worry and so sought a further Secretariat posting. Even in my last weeks in the field the possibility of a major break-down of security remained a very real concern as the KADU bosses at the final constitutional talks before independence threatened to secede and split the country into fragments.. Had this happened I would have implemented plans we had drawn up in Bungoma to evacuate the expatriate families to neighbouring Tororo in Uganda. Again, we owe it to the political genius of Malcolm Macdonald, that this crisis never eventuated.

    C. McLean. D. 0. Ukwala - mid 1957 - mid 1958
    In Ukwala many of the adults were working away from home, in the cities or on the European farms. Litigation, usually over land, was a major recreation amongst those who remained. Most central and local government services were well developed. There was little scope for major initiatives. One simply ran the existing set up as best one could, putting in minor improvements where this seemed possible. Collecting taxes, checking central and local government accounts (every single tax clerk in the Division was convicted and sentenced in my year there) listening to land suits and trying.criminal cases filled the working week. During my time in the field only in Ukwala did I spend an average of as much as 3 and a half days a week in the office or in court. Elsewhere my practice was to leave on Monday morning to work out in the division, returning from these safaris on Thursday evening to hold court on Friday, and do office work on Saturday mornings.

    Oginga Odinga was helpful both in Ukwala, and when I was at the KIA. In Ukwala one (i forget which) of the various electoral rolls was being boycotted by the citizens. Oginga Odinga was cross about this. He organized a series of meetings at which we both appeared on the platform. Only Oginga Odinga spoke for him briefly. He simply said "We the political leaders of the African people do not like this franchise. But we want it to work so that we can show how overwhelming your support is for our policies. So register, all of you Mr McLean here will explain how it is done. Do what he says, and we can get rid of him and his like all the quicker".

    C. McLean. D.O. Eldama Ravine 1961 - 62
    In Eldama Ravine development was the main activity. The land had been ruined by deafforestation, overstocking, overgrazing, and cereal monoculture; but not beyond repair. It retained a potential which, properly harnessed, could improve living standards dramatically in a short space of time. Many years of apparently fruitless effort had established what ought not to be done. We had run out of wrong things to do. So a combination of effective development techniques was deployed by experienced officers, with adequate funds at their disposal on land which gave greatly increased yields rapidly to people who were inclined not only to cooperate but to assume the initiative. The trick was to concentrate on one biggish scheme at a time. Once the majority of the people in the area were convinced, social pressure operated in favour of rather than against new techniques. There were at one time queues forming for the treatment after the first schemes had successfully got off the ground. The nature of the schemes varied. Planned resettlement on smallholdings in clearings in the forest zone: land consolidation with individual holdings of arable or ranching land of economic size where this was.possible: Texas 4 block ranches where individual holdings were not possible because of a lack of water supplies or because the land needed time to recover; dam building; individual farm planning; loans to farmers; cooperatives; piped water supplies; dips; improved breeds of livestock and crops; cash crops. The essentials however were that a scheme should embrace a community, rather than an individual; that it should show quick results; that grants and loans were available but dependent on a substantial contribution from the community (usually raised by selling off surplus stock) who were expected to collect their contributions, decide on all disbursements, and as far as possible police and otherwise manage their affairs with only technical advice from the extension workers. Community pride and confidence then led very quickly to further expenditure on roads, schools, and health services, and individuals began to invest heavily and profitably as traders, machinery contractors and transport operators.

    Arap Moi was a frequent visitor to Eldama Ravine. He asked for action over constituents' difficulties and in return defined the support he was prepared to give for government sponsored measures. It would be tedious to list the range of issues on which we cooperated.

    C. Fuller P.O. - Chepkerio - Blgeyo - Marakwet District Dec. 1958 - Aug. 1960
    The Transfer of Power: The Colonial Administrator in the Age of Decolonisation
    Native Tribunal
    My first post as full D.O. in charge of a division.

    There were the ongoing tasks of all D.0.s (supervision of the Locational Councils and Tax Clerks and of the African Court; magisterial duties etc.), but my main duties were:

    a) The establishment and administration of a 4000 acre pilot scheme for land consolidation and registration, linked to which was the planning of new roads for the area, a water reticulation system for domestic and dairy farming purposes and farm planning.

    b) The building of some twelve primary schools in different parts of the division which comprised a high plateau in the West (8000-9000 ft.), thorn scrub lowland in the east (3500-4000 ft.) and a 5000 ft. escarpment between the two.

    c) Building an office for the Coops.Officer and houses for African staff of the Tribal Police, Coops and Community Development Departments.

    d) Assisting my colleagues at Division H.Q. (the District Agricultural Officer, Divisional Livestock Officer, and District Coops. Officer) and the local farmers in their efforts to develops agriculture and dairying and marketing cooperatives.

    The Transfer of Power: The Colonial Administrator in the Age of Decolonisation
    Native Court
    The plateau area was exceptionally fertile (almost virgin forest soils down to more than 25 ft. in many areas arid a reliable rainfall of about 50 inches) and was capable of producing vegetables (especially potatoes) of high quality and yield, pyrethrum and grass which was the basis of a flourishing dairy industry. The problem was not one of trying to stimulate the local farmers, but one of trying to cope with their persistent demands for assistance of all kinds.

    This was, without doubt, the most enjoyable part of my service life, when I felt I was really helping the process of development. The Elgeyo were almost exclusively concerned with development - of schools, agriculture and dairying. Despite the significant and rapid changes which were taking place in national politics their only real interest in political events was forced upon them and was that of how to avoid domination by the large tribes (especially the Kikuyu). There was very little evidence of a positive desire to be responsible for the running of their own affairs. In terms of politics, therefore, my main duty in barazas was to help explain the constitutional changes which were taking place, encourage the people to take a constructive interest and reassure them (more in hope than certainty) that their land would not be taken from them.

    The only other memorable event of a political nature was of two days in 1960 when I escorted Margery Perham round the division and to a meeting with European farmers at Moiben. She had the difficult task of speaking to them and answering questions about their future in Kenya and the attitude of the Colonial Office.

    When I returned from leave in December 1960 I was posted to Kilome in southern Machakos as Divisional District Officer. My nine months in this district contrasted strongly with my experience in Elgeyo. The Wakamba were much more politically aware also that they were not nearly as strongly represented politically at the national level as their numbers (3rd largest tribe in Kenya after the Kikuyu and Luo) might suggest.

    In Kilome I had my first experience of active local politicians, some of whom exploited their growing power and influence to their own advantage by suggesting to the people that they need no longer observe certain practices which had been an integral part of development policy. The non-observance of the Land Usage Bye Laws was perhaps the most glaring example of this. There were some instances (not only in Machakos District) where soil conservation works were actually destroyed, no doubt to illustrate to the people and the administration the power of the local politicians and their contempt for what they regarded as examples of colonial institutions. To their credit, most of the 'national leaders' denounced this practice as illegal and folly as soon as .it was brought to their attention.

    This situation did, however, lead to pressure from one's departmental colleagues, particularly, the agricultural staff, urging one to show strength and bring any miscreants to justice. Some of them were rather too fanatical in this respect and revealed insensitivity to the rapidly-changing political situation, but one could understand their concern at the prospect of many years hard work almost literally flowing down the rivers into the Indian Ocean.

    Morale
    The contributors to this paper agree that morale was generally high. The esprit de corps which existed in the Kenyan administrative service remained strong and sustained its members even when they felt neglected or misrepresented by their ultimate masters in Whitehall. Gavaghan refers to "...an attitude of mind which extended from Britain, through the Colonial Office, to the very doors of the colonial administrator and the white settler. The attitude was quite ambivalent and McLeod and Alport were important exponents of it. It consisted in the treatment of administrators and settlers alike as people who (although irritatingly related and therefore in need of protection for political, economic or family reasons) were somehow to blame for the situation in which they were placed in the last days of power. Alport would not even admit members of the colonial administration to The Commonwealth Relations Service. He wanted a 'clean break' (as I asked at the time the Conservative Research Committee 'with a dirty past?')".

    Gavaghan agrees however that the "...morale of the colonial administrative service at District level remained remarkably high and fairly unified through all vicissitudes, largely because it was based upon a broadly homogeneous cultural background and training, with a sincerely held view of duty in 'trusteeship'." McLean supports this - "Morale was, in my case, high. I had expected the job to last ten years and said so at my selection interviews so there was no question of disappointed career expectations. The experience was invaluable. Nor did I hear any of my contemporaries complaining. The older men had perhaps more reason for unease, but said little. Wives and children had a harder time, but without them it would have been a lonely business".

    With reference to the post 1959 situation, Scott writes - "The first Lancaster House Conference was a big shock to expatriate morale in Nandi, but a far bigger one was the disorderly Belgian retreat from the Congo a few months later. My own statements in barazas notwithstanding, this fiasco and the earlier Mau-Mau troubles provided details for one's picture of Kenya's ultimate independence... Expatriate families at Homa Bay two years later had no particular worries over politics or security; in any case we were all too taken up with trying to ward off serious illness in the absence of proper medical support. In Bungoma, morale remained high through all the ups and downs of 1963, supported in particular by the thriving multi-racial club where the 'bright young things' were not D.0. Cadets just arrived from Oxbridge but African Land Registration Officers and the like not long out of High School. The worst moment was when KADU threatened to split the country a few months before Independence."

    Unhappily, the Emergency created special problems for the administration in Central Province, particularly for African District Officers and Chiefs, ".... who were allowed and encouraged (not in writing) to get on with the hard graft security, interrogation, control, enforcement, rehabilitation and so on, as long as things went well. Sometimes they did not, as for District Assistant Sam Githu, G.M., who stood trial for murder/manslaughter (of a detainee who died of pneumonia after a blow) before a newly arrived judge from England, without any official submissions (despite urgent representations that they should be made) as to the general (and officially acceptable) background to the offending blow, or to his own remarkable record of 'loyalty'. After his conviction and sentence a collection was organised to alleviate the damage to his personal circumstances (and perhaps to a few consciences). Morale was severely dented by such examples, which were not confined to Africans." (Gavaghan).

    This experience is related to indicate that, within the general situation of high morale, the Emergency was a sad and often dirty business which created a severe clash of loyalties for the African administrators and Native Authority caught up in it, as well as a repugnance which they and their European counterparts shared in what was often a nauseous task.

    What was it like to be an administrator in Kenya during decolonisation?
    If we put aside the problem of Central Province during, the Emergency then the following comments from McLean would probably represent, fairly accurately, the feelings of most administrators.

    The Transfer of Power: The Colonial Administrator in the Age of Decolonisation
    Luo Askari
    "The short answer is 'great fun'. It soon became obvious that constant effort was needed to keep even very simple benefits generally available. Law and order is basic, and very little of the results of violence had to be cleared up in order to forge a conviction of how important it was to achieve it. Justice was inseparable from law and order, though the need for due process amongst tribesmen who seldom argued the toss took rather longer to sink in. Collecting the revenue was essential if any kind of service was to be provided. It could be tedious, but it also, like law and order work, got the D.O. out into the country, talking to the people, beginning to understand how society worked."

    "Law, order and justice were a considerable advance on what some old men remembered of the time before the Europeans a arrived. But the most interesting and rewarding work was on development; - on raising the standard of living. The business of getting two blades of grass or two ears of corn to grow where only one grew before was, in predominantly pastoral or agricultural societies, the foundation, but had to be tied in with work on health, education, communications and local authorities. Seeing results in this field was very satisfying. In my experience, however, those engaged in it tended to see the trees and not the wood, the failures rather than the successes."

    Hindsight - Could we have managed decolonisation better?
    Decolonisation could have been managed differently. Whether it could have been managed better - and for whom - will no doubt remain a matter for much argument. There is complete agreement, however, between the contributors to this paper, that Africanisation could have been implemented more quickly and that this would have paid handsome dividends, especially in the goodwill which it would have generated.

    "It is impossible to pronounce on such a matter, unless one takes the right wing view that 'they were not ready', or the view of absolute morality that colonialism is indefensible anyway and should be terminated forthwith. Nevertheless, there were ways in which matters could have been advanced; in integration, in Africanisation of the civil service, local government and industry. There could have been an attitude of 'let's run ahead and see if they can do it', rather than of waiting to be pushed or threatened into responsive movement. Turnbull, in Tanganyika, may well not have been intended to be the last colonial Governor, but he (and Nyerere) saw to it that he was, ahead of Kenya and with less resources. Conversely, Kenyatta is reported to have expressed the view that his nine years of imprisonment and detention gave Kenya and himself a needed opportunity to build up the capability of self-government." (Gavaghan)

    "On Africanisation - we could have done more sooner, but one has to see this question in terms of the great foreshortening of the timetable that occurred with the first Lancaster House Conference in early 1960, Before this I saw our aim as the long term improvement of the Africans' situation under some form of power-sharing constitution. After that conference my own expectation was of independence under majority African rule within two years, That this grew into nearly four years was an outcome of the KANU/KADU split. My own feeling is that once we had got into gear for the decolonisation process the additional time was well spent. But I do wonder what was done to accelerate the Africanisation of the Provincial Administration during the first six to nine months after the conference. I do not feel that there had been much change in pace evident in postings to Nandi by the time I left in March of the following year," (Scott)

    "... having arrived, the colonial powers willy nilly created the forces that were to cause their expulsion, in good or bad order, depending on the accuracy of their political perceptions and the strength of their resolution. Whether better policies would have avoided the Emergency altogether I do not know. But it was stupid to attempt to pretend that Kenyatta would never be allowed to take over. Thereafter progress to independence seemed at the time to be too slow. Whole hearted commitment to it and effective preparation could have speeded it up by a year or so, This might have paid dividends, in goodwill and trust, and in bettor government. It was noticeable how first internal self-government and then independence got government moving again with a real sense of purpose. But with hindsight the timing may have been spot on. It worked. Kenya has remained stable and relatively prosperous and better disposed to its erstwhile colonial power than most." (McLean)

    Scott has no doubt that "where we were rightest of all was Malcolm Macdonald's inspired decision as Governor, to go straight into Internal Self-Government after the 1963 election result was announced. The country got the benefit of regionalism as a very short-term political expedient, without lapsing into the balkanisation which could have occurred if the regional system had had a chance to get established."

    map of British Empire
    1956 Map of Kenya
    Colony Profile
    Kenya
    Reith Lectures
    Margery Perham's Six Lectures:
    The Colonial Reckoning

    Transcripts of Lectures:
    Lecture 1: Anti-Colonialism and Anti-Imperialism
    Lecture 2: African Nationalism
    Lecture 3: The Politics of Emancipation
    Lecture 4: The Problem of White Settlement
    Lecture 5: The Colonial Account
    Lecture 6: Prospects for the Future

    Decolonisation Timeline
    1944 Eliud Kathu appointed as one of two representatives of African interests in the Legislative Council.
    1944 Formation of Kenya African Union (K.A.U.). Focussed on land as the most fundamental political issue
    1945 Post-war settlement scheme launched to train and assist new settlers selected by European Settlement Board.
    1946 Two African councillors appointed to Nairobi Municipal Council.
    1947 Jomo Kenyatta became President of the K.A.U.
    June 1948 Legislative Council met with first multi-racial unofficial majority.
    June 1950 Re-organisation of Local Native Councils into District Councils with increased powers to raise and spend local funds.
    May 1951 Visit of Colonial Secretary (Griffiths) for discussions about a revised constitution.
    July 1952 Formation of County Councils in European areas with powers to raise rates and discharge functions of local government.
    Sept 1952 Appointment of East African Royal Commission.
    Sept 1952 Murder of Chiefs Uaruhiu and Nderi.
    Oct 1952 Declaration of state of emergency to deal with Mau-Mau.
    Oct 1952 Arrest of Jomo Kenyatta.
    1953 Publication of Troup Report outlining ten-year plan for development of European Highlands and capital investment of 50 millions pounds.
    June 1953 K.A.U. proscribed.
    Aug 1953 Tom IIboya became General Secretary of Federation of Registered Trade Unions - with trade union colleagues he questioned conduct of Emergency. Oginga Odinga in Central Nyanza and Ronald Ngala in Mombasa also critical of colonial rule.
    Apr 1954 Third visit of Oliver Lyttleton (Colonial Sec.) resulting in Lyttleton Constitution and the establishment of a Council of Ministers. This provision for multi-racial government accepted by the African members of the Legislative Council but rejected by Oginga Odinga and Tom Mboya.
    Apr 1954 Political initiative taken by new African elite who had little direct connection with the old K.A.U. leadership.
    Apr 1954 Formation of Federal Independence Party by section of Europeans in opposition to Lyttleton Constitution.
    June 1954 Swynnerton Plan for vigorous development of African Land Units.
    June 1954 Formation of United Country Party by section of Europeans in support of Lyttleton multi-racial constitution.
    Mar 1947 First African elections, on a qualified franchise, for the election of eight Africans to the Legislative Council. Odinga, Mboya, Ngala and other younger men more educated than their predecessors, unseated the former nominated members.
    1958 Attempt to amalgamate District Associations disallowed.
    1958 New constitution opposed by African elected members.
    1958 Areas of Kenya that had been slow to develop political consciousness were drawn into the national movement.
    1958 Tribal attitudes split the nationalist movement into several groupings as tribes became conscious of their .separate and conflicting interests.
    Jan 1960 Lancaster House constitutional conference in London - principle of African majority rule estabilished.
    Jan 1960 Fundamental source of divisions within the nationalist movement was the land question and economic issues. This led to a split of the nationalist movement into the Kenya African National Union (K.A.N.U.) comprising the Kikuyu, Luo, Kamba and allies and the Kenya African Democratic Union (K.A.D.U.) comprising the Kalenjin, coastal and minority tribes.
    Feb 1961 General election. Most 'open' seats won by African candidates. K.A.N.U. formed the largest single group in the Legislative Council, but refused to accept office unless Jomo Kenyatta was unconditionally released from restriction. Governor refused and invited K.A.D.U. to form a government, which it did. Ronald Ngala, its leader, assumed the office of Leader of the House.
    Feb 1961 Discussions in London and Nairobi to bring some agreement between K.A.N.U. and K.A.D.U. about constitutional advance failed.
    Feb 1962 Constitutional conference in London to discuss a new constitution, internal self-government and Independence. The fears of the smaller tribes led K.A.D.U. to demand a quasi-federal government with newly created Regional Authorities. K.A.N.U. accepted this rather than delay Independence.
    May 1963 General Elections to the Central and Regional legislatures. K.A.N.U. won a majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate and formed a government with Jomo Kenyatta as Kenya1s first Prime Minister.
    May 1963 In the Regional Assemblies K.A.N.U. won a majority in the Eastern, Central and Nyanza Regions. K.A.D.U. won a majority in the Rift Valley, Coast and Uestern Regions.
    June 1963 Internal self-government.
    Dec 1963 Independence.
    1964 The K.A.N.U. government abolishes the regional structure of government.


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