HC Deb 21 April 1937 vol 322 cc1732-4
29. Mr. Creech Jones

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what is the nature of the protests made by Africans in respect to the transfer of the people of Tigoni in Kenya to the Nyamweru area and from whom have they been received; whether he is aware of the considerable feeling among the natives against the alienation of their land which is not in common ownership but individually owned; whether in any cases alienation took place without consultation or agreement with the people concerned; whether any headman possesses native authority to consent without such agreement; whether the transfer has been completed; and, if so, to whom was compensation, if any, paid and of what amount?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

As the answer is a long one, I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Creech Jones

Will the right hon. Gentleman take some steps to allay native feeling on this matter, as there is considerable dissatisfaction and the feeling that a regular procedure is not being followed, and will he inform the local officials on the spot that no headman should be allowed to alienate the land of the individual owners unless consent has been given by the individual owners beforehand?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

I will certainly look into the last point, but, as the hon. Member knows, this was a move recommended by the Morris Carter Commission, and has been proceeding most satisfactorily.

Following is the answer:

As I explained in this House on 9th July, the removal of the inhabitants of Tigoni to an exchange area is being carried out on the recommendation of the Morris Carter Land Commission. After considering the evidence and the representations from all quarters it was the considered view of the Commission that it would be to the advantage of the natives and the Kikuyu Reserve as a whole that they should leave Tigoni and be accommodated and compensated in the manner described in the Land Commission's Report. Objections to the transfer have been made by the inhabitants themselves and by the Kikuyu Central Association on their behalf. These objections are not so much to the exchange area now selected, which is a more satisfactory one than that originally selected, but to any move at all. Protests have been made that the agreement of the natives to being moved has been irregularly obtained, since the land is held individually and not in common ownership. With the co-operation, however, of 7½ of the 10 Mbaris (clans) residing on Tigoni and a sub-committee of the local native council, arrangements for the move have proceeded actively, and compensation has been assessed on a generous scale and reaches a total of £1,289 18s. for the 7½ Mbaris who have pointed out their holdings. This compensation will be paid to the people themselves. I ram not aware whether the move, for which Government transport is being provided, has yet taken place, but I am sending a copy of the hon. Member's question to the Governor of Kenya. Cash compensation, and land at Nyamweru will, of course, be reserved for the Mbaris who have not so far cooperated in the move. The decision has been discussed with and explained to the people on more than one occasion, and the late Governor reported that there was not now any serious opposition to the proposed move.