HC Deb 15 July 1953 vol 517 cc2029-30
Mr. Fenner Brockway

I rise to present a Petition addressed to this House on behalf of 158,642 citizens of the Protectorate and Colony of Kenya. This Petition is in an unusual form. Many of the identifications attached are thumbprints rather than signatures, but in each case the names and addresses of the persons concerned are attached. In some cases these thumb-prints are in blood, to indicate, in the phrase of the petitioners, that, in their view, "land is life."

The Petition showeth: That a grievous wrong is being suffered by the people of Kenya through the alienation of 16,700 square miles of their most fertile land, and the consequent overcrowding of the native reserves, with disastrous effects upon the well-being of the people.

The Prayer is as follows: Wherefore the Petitioners pray that 1. The Crown Lands Ordinance No. 27 of 1938 and the Native Lands Trust Ordinance of 1938 which authorised the alienation of African land and the restriction of African occupation to reserved areas be withdrawn; 2. Africans shall have rights to the occupation and ownership of land in any part of Kenya; 3. Africans shall immediately be allowed to occupy and farm the large unused areas which are in the territories reserved to Europeans; 4. Immigration of further settlers shall be stopped in view of the land hunger from which the African community suffers; 5. Conjointly with the withdrawal of the above Ordinances arrangements should be made in agreement with representatives of the African people for the provision of agricultural credit, equipment, and training to permit the Africans to develop their land co-operatively. And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.

Mr. Baldwin

On a point of order.

Hon. Members

There cannot be a point of order.

Mr. Baldwin

Have we no right of making any reply to the statements which have just been made, which are not in accord with the facts?

Mr. Speaker

Not at this stage.

Petition to lie upon the Table.