HC Deb 30 November 1938 vol 342 cc413-4
58. Mr. Creech Jones

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that 19 of the 21 cattle of Samuel Mwindi, in Kenya, were seized by force by the Government in July; that the forced seizures of the cattle of the Wakambas was indiscriminate and arbitrary without regard to native rights; that after the protest and demonstration of these tribesmen at Nairobi, Mwindi was arrested for asking for the Governor's reply and for the return of his cattle; why Mwindi was prosecuted and deported and his wives and children left without means of maintenance; and whether he will order that Mwindi be brought back and his cattle restored and the Askaris withdrawn from the homes of these people?

Mr. M. MacDonald

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

Mr. Creech Jones

In view of the gravity of this procedure, which has now become a habit of Colonial Governors, of deporting men who are organising working people to protest against their conditions, will the right hon. Gentleman not—

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Member must not make general accusations against Colonial Governors in a supplementary question.

Mr. Creech Jones

My question directs attention to the fact that men are being deported merely for organising protests against Government action, and I am asking what the Colonial Secretary is doing in this matter, seeing that this has now become a practice in the Barbados, Mauritius and elsewhere.

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Member cannot raise a matter of that kind in a supplementary question.

Following is the answer:

Yes, Sir. I am aware that cattle belonging to Samuel Mwindi and other natives in the same sub-location on the Machakos district were seized in July because they had refused to bring in their cattle to be branded in accordance with the grazing quota allotted to that area under the destocking policy. The seizures were not indiscriminate in that orders were given to leave all sound working oxen, one milking cow for each boma (or family) and all cows with small calves, and that a record should be made of the cattle taken from each owner. The purpose of these orders was however to some extent frustrated by the non-co-operation of the owners of the cattle. It was at all times open to these natives to have their cattle returned to them on their agreeing to co-operate in the destocking policy.

Samuel Mwindi was deported on 4th October to another district on the recommendation of a judge of the Supreme Court, not on the grounds suggested in the hon. Member's question, but because he had been conducting himself so as to be dangerous to peace and good order, in that the evidence showed that he was a leader, if not the ringleader, in an agitation in opposition to his own tribal authorities, and had been a party to the public cursing of those authorities. As regards the last part of the question I have received a petition praying that Samuel Mwindi should be allowed to return to his home, and I have referred it to the Governor for his observations.