§ 23. Mr. LUNN
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has considered the petition from chief Koinange and other representatives of the Kikuyu people, begging that a deputation be allowed to proceed to London to make representations on the question of native rights in land; and whether, in order to allay the fears of the Kikuyu on this matter, which were noted with concern by the Joint Select Committee on Closer Union in East Africa, he will 434 encourage the sending of such a deputation?
Mr. J. H. THOMAS
I have not received any petition asking to be allowed to send a deputation to London. The Land Commission, presided over by Sir Morris Carter, was set up for the purpose of settling the land question in Kenya and I am not prepared to encourage the sending of a deputation. Any tribe which wishes to make representations must do so through the Governor.
§ Mr. PALING
Is it not a fact that difficulties have cropped up in regard to this question that were not foreseen originally; and is it not time that this question was gone into again of these natives having the right to remain on their own land?
It may well be that there are difficulties and I would be prepared to answer a question on that point, but nothing could be worse than to give encouragement in this House to the idea that any tribe or any body can appeal to London, irrespective of recognising the Governor on the spot who is there for that purpose.
§ Mr. PALING
Would it not be right to encourage them in thinking that this Government will care for their rights which they have had from time immemorial?
It would be right for them to think that this Government will look after their rights, but it would be wrong to encourage them not to recognise the tribunal on the spot to which they should appeal.
No, it does not mean that. It does mean—and no one has emphasised this more than my hon. Friend did when he was in office—that there is a channel for communication and that channel is the Governor. That must always be recognised.
§ Mr. PALING
May we take it that these grievances will be gone into and attended to before the Order-in-Council is put into operation, to which the right hon. Gentleman referred in answer to a previous question?
I am afraid that my hon. Friend is confusing two things. The answer which I gave to the hon. Member for Basingstoke (Mr. Donner) dealt with the definition of boundaries. I understand my hon. Friend to be asking about a different aspect of the matter.