§ 12.26 p.m.
§ Mrs. Barbara Castle (Blackburn)
I am grateful to you, Mr. Speaker, for having allowed me this opportunity to answer the unwarranted attacks which have been made on me by the Secretary of State for the Colonies as a result of my visit to Kenya.
During Question Time last week the right hon. Gentleman, hitting out wildly in reply to Questions which merited a careful and detailed answer, fell back on two unparliamentary devices in an effort to hide the fact that he had no answer to the points I raised. In the first place, he took a course of action which, I think, is unprecedented in this House. He quoted a remark which I was alleged to have made to the Attorney-General of Kenya during one of two lengthy private conversations which I had with him in Nairobi, when we discussed together the case of Kamau Kichina.
Since my return from Kenya I have scrupulously refrained from quoting, either in this House or in any of the articles I have written, what the Attorney-General said to me during those seven or eight hours, because I had a better concept than had the right hon. Gentleman of the behaviour expected of an hon. Member. The only reference I have made in my articles to the talks that I had with the Attorney-General appeared in the Daily Mirror—which I am sure the right hon. Gentleman has read and no doubt has with him now. If he has not, I will refresh his memory. In that article I said:For hours we went into the papers together, and he was as anxious as I was to see that justice was fully done.It is quite intolerable that the right hon. Gentleman, without consulting me or laying before this House the full record of those conversations, should have extracted one alleged sentence and thrown it at me without any warning in substitution for a reasoned answer to a serious Question. How does the right hon. Gentleman know that what he quoted was a fair record of the conversation that took place? Is he now going to tell me that there was a tape recorder under the Attorney-General's table? If not, what 2036 right had he to accept as the correct version of the conversation that given by only one of the parties to it? Is that the kind of behaviour which is befitting an hon. Member of this House?
Does the right hon. Gentleman think it proper to take one sentence out of its context unless he is prepared to lay before the House the full papers concerned? I challenge him to do that, because if he will lay before this House a full verbatim record of those two conversations, if he has such a record, I shall be fully vindicated in the Questions which I have already asked on the case of Kamau Kichina and the Questions which I shall continue to ask—because the Colonial Secretary's methods will not intimidate me from doing so. If, on the other hand, the right hon. Gentleman has no such verbatim report, I challenge him to admit it here and now, to apologise to me for his behaviour and to withdraw unreservedly the accusations he made.
In the meantime, failing that, my colleagues and I must draw the conclusion that the right hon. Gentleman is unfit to act as an impartial judge of what is happening in Kenya and is unfit to answer in this House about its troubled affairs or to serve as the custodian of the rights of all the inhabitants of Kenya, which it is his duty to do in this House.
During our exchanges last week the Colonial Secretary justified his action of quoting this sentence out of context on the grounds that I had been guilty of publishing "monstrous slanders" against the people of Kenya in my articles in the Daily Mirror. I would point out to the right hon. Gentleman that those articles that I wrote were not privileged and that the slanders of which he complained were not made under the security of this House, but were made in a newspaper. If, therefore, there is any person who considers himself libelled by what I said, he has a course of action open to him to claim redress. But if the Colonial Secretary, instead of having this reaction to the facts that I tried to put before him, would have taken the trouble to check those facts, he would never have used that intolerable word "slander."
I want to know to what specific instances he is referring. I have my articles here. The right hon. Gentleman has read them. Will he give me one single instance of a libel in those articles? 2037 Is he referring perhaps to the reference I made to the increase in venereal disease in the Nyeri district as a result of the separation of husbands and wives which has arisen from the emergency? If he is referring to that, I would point out that the District Commissioner of Nyeri was standing by my side when the sister of the mission hospital at Tumu Tumu made that statement to me. The right hon. Gentleman is perfectly at liberty to check in Kenya whether or not the facts and figures that I gave in my article were true.
Perhaps, on the other hand, the right hon. Gentleman was referring to a reference in another of my articles to what I discovered at Manyani detention camp. Has he consulted the commander of that camp, to ascertain whether I went there and whether the men whose names I gave were in the camp in the circumstances as stated in my article? I maintain that it is I who have been slandered in this House by the right hon. Gentleman quite unscrupulously, because I am afraid he reflects the attitude that one finds too much in Kenya today—the attitude of meeting any criticism, however serious and responsible, by hitting back in a blind and violent fashion.
I should like to quote one of the letters which I have received since we last discussed this matter in the House, and I hope that the Colonial Secretary will pay great attention to this. It is a letter from a clergyman in Yorkshire, and he writes:May I be allowed to support you in your action in calling for an investigation into affairs in Kenya. I am deeply interested in the work of the missionary societies there and have been told repeatedly that things are not very satisfactory. I am grateful to you for calling attention to the situation and hope that your efforts will be rewarded.I have just received a communication about the time which is available for the right hon. Gentleman to reply to this debate. I think that both he and I are in some difficulty.
§ The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Alan Lennox-Boyd)
Mr. Speaker, may I ask where we stand? I am sorry that the hon. Lady should have been interrupted. Could you indicate when this debate will be brought to an end?
§ Mr. Speaker
We have lost half an hour in starting, but one hon. Member who was allotted half an hour on the Adjournment has now withdrawn. On the 2038 other hand, there will be a Royal commission at half-past three which will consume about a quarter of an hour. The net balance, therefore, is that we are a quarter of an hour down on the day. I ask hon. Members to do their best to recover that amount of time so that everyone will get an equal chance. This matter certainly cannot finish at 12.45, but as soon as it can be finished the more time there will be for other people.
§ Mrs. Castle
I will try to be brief, Mr. Speaker, but I am sure you appreciate that a number of important points are involved. I have been slandered seriously in this House and a point of principle of importance to all Members has been raised. Therefore, I am in a grave difficulty as a result of the reduction in the time, which was already very short for this purpose.
One of the points which I made in my articles on Kenya was to the effect that the trade union movement, which is officially recognised by the Kenya Government and which is affiliated to the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, to which, also, the British unions are affiliated, has been shadowed and hounded by the secret police in Kenya. This is, no doubt, one of the things which the Colonial Secretary would call a monstrous slander. But since I sought to raise this matter on the Adjournment a serious new development has taken place which I think fully justifies everything I wrote.
When I was in Kenya, meeting these trade union leaders, meeting them openly, going to their offices and talking to them freely, it was said to me by more than one African, "You know what will happen when you get back. We shall pay for this." In the Manchester Guardian of 8th December, a few days after my return to this country, there appeared a report that the trade union offices of the Federation of Labour, in Nairobi, had been raided by the police, that documents were searched, files taken away, and no one has been able to find out the purpose and the result of that raid.
The Trades Union Congress has been in touch with the Colonial Office in an attempt to obtain further information, as has the General Secretary of the Kenya Federation of Labour, Mr. Tom Mboya, who is in this country studying trade union and social matters at Ruskin College. Nothing further has appeared in 2039 the British Press. That is the difficulty about Kenya. The facts do not come to us and we are often unaware of what is going on.
I should like the Colonial Secretary to tell us whether it is a fact that the deputy of the General Secretary, Mr. Gaya, who is acting in his absence as liaison officer between the Kenya trade unions and the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, has now been arrested. If so, what is the charge against him? I suggest to the Colonial Secretary that the developments which have taken place since I left Kenya are only too painfully in accord with what I feared might happen, that Africans who talked to me freely in an attempt to put their problems before this House would be penalised as soon as I left.
I went to Kenya for two reasons. I went, first, because Colonel Young, who was sent out to Kenya last year to reorganise the police, resigned before his contract was finished, because he disagreed with the attitude of the Kenya Government. I went, secondly, because the case of Kamau Kichina, which was reported in the British Press last August, proved that the abuses to which Colonel Young had objected had not been eliminated, were still possible and were still taking place.
At the beginning of this Session, in view of the alarming details of this case, and of the way in which they link up with the protest which Colonel Young has made, I asked the Colonial Secretary whether he would institute a high-level official inquiry from this country into that case. He refused, saying that he did not think an inquiry was necessary and that he did not think any police reforms were necessary. In view of the complacency which he showed—a complacency which was not shared by hon. Members on this side of the House—I felt that I must myself make independent inquiries.
As a result of those inquiries, I have discovered the real reason for which Colonel Young resigned. He resigned because he wanted to build up a police force independent of the Administration in the same way as the police force in this country is independent of the Administration. He had found, on the contrary, in Kenya, that the police regarded themselves as a department of 2040 the Government, to such an extent that instead of considering themselves as the independent agents of the law, who should impartially and ruthlessly stamp out abuses, they considered themselves rather to be the agents of the local Administration, from whom they felt obliged to take instructions whether or not action should be taken when abuses occurred.
When I made this point in my Question to the Colonial Secretary last week, he threw up his hands in horror, as if I were producing a montrous new slander out of the hat, but surely it is common knowledge—and it has never been denied—that in the enforcement of law and order in Kenya the police are responsible to the provincial and district commissioners as representatives of the Government.
The Colonial Secretary has himself made this point in previous debates and it has been made in the Report of the Kenya Police Commission, sent out in 1953 to examine the structure and future of the Kenya Police. That Police Commission pointed this out, and surely the right hon. Gentleman ought to know it if he knows anything about Kenya at all. The Commission said:We find that, in fact, there is little practical difference between the police and various Departments of Government and that the police officers are considered civil servants to whom special duties and functions are assigned. This situation is completely at variance with the conception of a police officer under the Common Law of England.That was the system to which Colonel Young objected. He wanted to give the police in Kenya the same constitutional status as they have in England under the Common Law of England, and it was because he could not get that reform that he resigned.
We believe that this system has been responsible for a number of the abuses which have troubled the House during the last few months, and this brings me to the case of Kamau Kichina, which I raised at the beginning of the Session and which the Colonial Secretary dismissed as being of no great significance. Let me remind the House of the details of this case.
Kamau Kichina was an African labourer employed at a Home Guard post. Some money disappeared from this Home Guard post and he was suspected of having taken it, probably to contribute 2041 it to Mau Mau funds. He was, therefore, taken to a nearby police station where two European police officers, Fuller and Waters, proceeded to question him. They held that man for five days without a warrant, without a trial and without officially having him charged, and during that period he was beaten, he was tortured, he suffered exposure at night and he was denied food until, eventually, he died.
The disturbing feature about this case is that on the day Kamau Kichina was detained, his arrest was reported to the senior district officer in the area, Mr. Richmond, whom the Colonial Secretary has himself admitted is a regular member of the Administrative Service; and Mr. Richmond sent one of his district officers, Mr. Bosch, to report on the case for him. Mr. Bosch was later accused of having abetted the maltreatment of Kamau Kichina and was found guilty.
That was serious enough, but more alarming still was that another junior district officer, Mr. Coppen, was involved. He visited the prisoner at the same time as Mr. Bosch and saw him lying down, clothed only in a blanket, saw him being beaten, and saw him being dragged up the hill with his hands manacled in front of him. He later admitted in court that when the criminal investigation department started its inquiries into the death of Kamau Kichina he made a statement to the police which was deliberately designed to mislead. Of this district officer, the magistrate said:Another D.O. and magistrate admitted at the inquest that he gave false evidence to the police C.I.D. when inquiries were in progress into the death. Giving false information to a public officer is an offence under the penal code.The Colonial Secretary told me on 26th October that this man's contract of service had been terminated. He has been allowed quietly to leave the Service and no other charge has been preferred against him.
More serious still is the fact that the senior district officer, who is a regular member of the Administrative Service, was well aware of the fact that Kamau Kichina was being held prisoner. He admitted in court that he saw the prisoner twice during those five days of maltreatment which eventually led to his death. He admitted in court that on the second day he hauled the prisoner, Kamau Kichina, before a baraza, or a village 2042 meeting, and that he told the village that it was clear that Kamau Kichina had taken the money—although this man died protesting his innocence to the end—and he said in court, openly—and here I am quoting from the court record of his evidence:I also told them I would take action against Oaruweru village unless the money was recovered.He admitted having in this way incited the villagers against Kamau Kichina and admitted that he handed the prisoner to the village elders and told them to do what they could "to help" to get him to confess. He said he impounded 100 cattle and 72 goats belonging to the village as a communal fine, in other words he confiscated them.
Two days later, the day before Kamau Kichina died, he brought him before another village baraza. All this he has admitted on oath. One of the African tribal policemen, giving evidence in court, said of the condition of the prisoner the day before he died:Kamau seemed to be very sick and he was even smelling. He smelt very badly, like putrefaction. He was incapable of either walking or even standing at the bar. Mr. Richmond was in charge of the baraza. When Kamau was brought in front of the baraza he could not walk and had to be supported by two men.When I put these facts before the House last week the Colonial Secretary turned on me and said that he had no information whatever to support the statements which I was making. I suggest that it is fantastic for the Minister in charge of a Colony to make a remark like that when he had already told the House two months earlier that he was quite satisfied that no inquiry was necessary in this case.
Has the Colonial Secretary done what I have done? Had he turned up the court records of this case before he told us that an inquiry was not necessary? Has he talked it over in detail, as I have done, with the Attorney-General in Kenya? I will not disclose, even in my own defence in the House this morning, what the Attorney-General said to me, but if the Colonial Secretary had talked it over for several hours with the Attorney-General, as I have done, he would not be so complacent about it, or deny that there was no evidence to confirm the facts which I put before him the other day.
2043 I challenge the Minister to tell the House that the Attorney-General of Kenya denies the facts as I have stated them. Of course he cannot deny them they are in the court records. May I ask what has happened to this senior district officer, Mr. Richmond, who went to far greater lengths than those that I have had time to recite, and who so incited the villagers against this wretched, helpless prisoner that the villagers tried to lynch Kamau Kichina, and he had to be dragged away in a Land Rover to save his life?
At the inquest, this district officer withheld important evidence, and later admitted that he had done so. Not only that, but this district officer so misled the doctor, who was the medical witness in the case, by telling him that he had seen Kamau Kichina the day before his death and that he was then "perfectly well," that the doctor came along later at the inquest and preliminary inquiry, and said that he had not made as thorough an investigation of the injuries as he would otherwise have done because of the misleading statement made.
I ask the Colonial Secretary, if he has the passionate desire that we have on this side of the House to see that this sort of thing should never happen again, why no action has been taken against the district officer whose professional conduct he rushed to defend last week? Why is it that on 24th October, two months after these events had been revealed at the trial, it was published in the Government Gazette—and I have seen it for myself—that this district officer had been transferred to South Nyanza, with the same rank and the same status? [HON. MEMBERS: "Shame."] I have not the time to continue this as I should like to have done.
§ Mr. R. T. Paget (Northampton)
Does the hon. Lady really tell us that the man who conducted this baraza is governing natives in our name today?
§ Mrs. Castle
All that I can tell my hon. and learned Friend is that I myself saw in Nairobi the Government Gazette of 24th October, in which it announced the appointment of Mr. Richmond to another district, South Nyanza, still as a Government district officer of the same rank. I am sure that the Colonial Secretary will not attempt to deny that, 2044 because it has been published in the Government Gazette.
I suggest that all this cries out for an inquiry. There are a hundred and one questions which have never been probed by the Colonial Secretary as they ought to have been probed if he cared passionately for the name of British justice. Why was the charge of murder against these two police officers, Fuller and Waters, dropped? On 26th October the Colonial Secretary told me that it was because the medical evidence of the witness, Dr. Brown, was not strong enough. But the evidence was strong enough at the inquest to cause the magistrate to suspend the hearing, and to say that a case for a charge of murder had been made out. Why then was that evidence modified at the preliminary inquiry held seven days later?
Is there any doubt that the injuries which Kamau Kichina suffered during those five terrible days and the exposure to which he was subjected had at the very least accelerated his death? I am told by legal friends that if that were so, at the very least a charge of manslaughter ought to have been brought instead of a charge of causing grievous bodily harm, which led the magistrate to give a derisory sentence of 18 months' imprisonment. Why did the magistrate pass a sentence of 18 months when he had the discretionary power to send the men to prison for seven years, even for the crime of causing grievous bodily harm?
There are dozens of questions that need answering. I say quite advisedly that it is time that the Colonial Secretary showed less hostility when these points are brought to his attention, more anxiety that the African in Kenya should receive equality and justice before the law, and more willingness to consider once again the reforms for which Colonel Young was earnestly pressing.
§ 12.55 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Alan Lennox-Boyd)
I, too, am sorry that this should be a short debate. I should have been interested to hear further observations from the hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) and other hon. Members, and to have had the opportunity of making a longer speech of my own, but circumstances do not enable that to happen. Other opportunities will, no doubt, arise in the new 2045 year. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I should welcome them very much indeed, because I am as anxious to search for the truth as hon. Members opposite and anxious to protect those people, whose spokesman I am in this House, against charges which are so often and almost always unmerited.
Before addressing myself to the substance of the hon. Lady's remarks, there is a personal explanation which I should like to make. I quoted in the House last week a remark which I said that the hon. Lady had made to a senior officer in Kenya, and which she rightly recognised, I think, as perhaps being a remark which might or might not have been addressed to the Attorney-General of Kenya, with whom she had very long conversations. I made this statement in the House because of the concern of the House expressed by, among others, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) and later the following week by the Leader of the Opposition. Perhaps the House was concerned that it might be thought that no hon. Member of Parliament in the future might be free to talk to officers of colonial Governments without the risk of what they said being quoted without their foreknowledge in this House.
I think that, on reflection, there is a good deal to be said for that anxiety. I made a mistake in what I did and I am sorry that I should have occasioned this anxiety. I am sorry for any embarrassment that it might bring to the Attorney-General of Kenya who, like all his distinguished counsellors, is only too glad that Members of Parliament and others should know about the work they are doing and help to get the whole picture into perspective. Members need have no anxiety on this score in the future, so far as I am concerned. While I recognise that I made a mistake in this matter, that does not mean that I can allow to go unanswered some of the very sweeping charges made by the hon. Lady.
§ Mr. A. Fenner Brockway (Eton and Slough) rose—
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I am sorry, but I cannot give way. I fear that if I give way to interruptions it will mean that we cannot carry on the debate in the terms which, I think, we all agreed.
§ Mr. Brockway
On the last occasion that this matter was raised, we asked for an apology from the right hon. Gentleman. As he has now agreed that he made a mistake, is not an apology due from him?
§ Mr. Speaker
I think that the right hon. Member did express his regret. If so, that is all that can be asked. I must ask the House to remember the rights of other Members on the Adjournment.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
My recollection of the English language is that the word "sorry" can be held to contain an apology.
The hon. Lady said that it was about time that I, as Secretary of State, began to take seriously some of the charges she made, and she referred in particular to the most distressing case of Kamau Kichina. I wish that she would remind people in and out of this country, and through the newspapers, of my long statement on 26th October on this particular case, in which I said that the Governor and I had been greatly distressed by this case, and no attempt whatever was made to defend the seriousness of a disgraceful state of affairs in which two police inspectors—a chief inspector and a temporary district officer—were convicted of acting contrary to the elementary ideas of British justice. No one attempted to defend that action. No one, so far as I know, in Kenya had a good word to say for it.
The hon. Lady surely should have drawn attention to the fact that when the whole of a country, living as Kenya has done for years under such fearful stress, unites in condemning action of this kind, that is proof of the fundamental desire that the rule of law should prevail. It would have been not only generous to me, which does not matter, but, I think she will agree, generous to the people of Kenya if she had made it clear that everyone here, including not least the Secretary of State, and all the people of Kenya are united in loathing what has happened.
The hon. Lady referred to the district officer, Mr. Richmond, whose conduct is at the moment subject to inquiry under the colonial regulations. I will make a statement about that when the House reassembles if the inquiry is then over, as 2047 I imagine it may well be. At the moment, the matter is sub judice and I think it would be unfair to make any comment about it. In reference to the medical records to which the hon. Lady referred, the Supreme Court records have been placed in the Library of the House, but not, so far, the records of the preliminary inquiry. I propose to allow the records of the preliminary inquiry, including the medical evidence, to be placed in the Library.
§ Mrs. Castle
Would the right hon. Gentleman also allow the evidence of the inquest, held seven days before the preliminary hearing, to be placed in the Library, because that is very relevant?
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I will certainly do that so that all the relevant papers may be available and hon. Members can read them at their leisure before the House returns after the Recess. I will do that as soon as possible.
I am always glad to hear of visits to Kenya, or anywhere else, by impartial observers anxious to get at the truth, but I must confess that I cannot disguise from myself the frame of mind in which the hon. Lady stepped into the aeroplane when she was leaving. If the newspapers are correct, she said, "I might need protection from the white settlers." That did seem a clear indication that the object was to support conclusions at which she had already arrived. Thus, while I shall do my very best in the short time available to answer some of the things the hon. Lady has said, I have the feeling that she went out in a very prejudiced way and not as an impartial observer. That, I believe, is bound to rob a great deal of what she said of its value.
The hon. Lady accused me of having said that in the newspapers she has slandered the people of Kenya, and she asked me to draw attention to any particular passage in those articles which did so. I would ask the hon. Member to look again at the article of 7th December, in which she will see:The motto of the security forces was ' shoot first and ask questions afterwards'.That does appear to me to be a fairly sweeping charge to make against the security forces in Kenya at any stage of the emergency in view of the individual courage and heroism which has been 2048 shown in the Kenya area. Why did she not quote at the same time what was said recently by Mr. Justice Law, in Kenya:This is yet another example, and there have been several of late, of the high standard of discipline attained by the tribal police and Home Guards in the Central Province and of their reluctance to kill even obvious terrorists if there is a chance of capturing even at grave personal risk to themselves.
§ Mrs. Castle rose—
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I think I shall have to deal with this question myself. There will be plenty of other opportunities for exchanging ideas later.
In the same newspaper article the hon. Lady drew attention to a visit she paid to Manyani, where she saw the father of a boy who had been killed and gave the impression that two officers had been sent to Manyani to prevent them giving evidence consequent on the death of the child. The Attorney-General, to whom the hon. Lady has paid tribute, satisfied himself and the Government that the confession of those two people was entirely unconnected with that case.
I do not know whether that formed part of the conversation the hon. Lady had with the Attorney-General, but I have not got a record of it. There certainly was no recording machine there at the time, but if reference was made to that incident I am quite certain the Attorney-General would have reassured the hon. Lady that there was no question whatever of those two incidents having any connection.
§ Mrs. Castle
May I say, in reply, that when I got back from Manyani, just before I returned to this country, I laid this case before the Attorney-General, as I did all the evidence of a disturbing nature I found? He said that he would look into it. May I also point out that four of the five men I interviewed told me that although they had been in the camp for two months they had not in any way been screened since being detained?
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
That is another matter. The Attorney-General has certainly gone in great detail into the matter and satisfied himself and the Government that there is no connection whatever between the two cases.
In her article the hon. Lady actually twisted what the father said—his denial 2049 that he knew anything about the death of his son—and made it into a charge that some fear must be operating in Kenya which prevented the father knowing the truth, but the Attorney-General is absolutely satisfied that the father gave honest evidence to the hon. Lady. There is no question of there being any connection whatever between the two incidents. The hon. Lady regarded the fact of the father not knowing of the death of his son as being so inherently improbable that he must have been acting in fear of his life.
§ Mrs. Castle
The father denied to me that European police officers had killed his son. He denied that to me in the detention camp when I saw him, although he was present at the inquest where the European officers confessed to killing the boy, saying he was trying to escape. I have an actual witness to that because my interpreter at the camp was the official prison department interpreter who was the only medium through which I was allowed to speak to the prisoners. Surely the Colonial Secretary must find something very strange in the evidence.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
The original charge was that these men were detained because they might have something unwelcome to say in the course of the C.I.D. investigations. They have denied that and the Government and the Attorney-General are satisfied. In regard to the new suggestion made by the hon. Lady—as far as I know, this is the first I have heard of it—I shall certainly look into that point and let the House know about it.
The hon. Lady made another charge. She referred to the searching of the I.C.F.T.U. offices in Nairobi, and suggested that that had been done because the trade union officers there had been hospitable to her during her recent visit. The so-called raid on the Association headquarters was a routine measure of investigation into the disposal of certain stolen property. It had nothing political in it at all. I am in touch with the T.U.C. on this matter. On 17th December Mr. Gaya was arrested on a charge of receiving stolen property and was remanded by a magistrate until 12th January. Is the hon. Lady satisfied with that or is she still suspicious?
§ Mr. James Griffiths (Llanelly)
The right hon. Gentleman knows as well as 2050 I do and as well as all of us here that the work of the I.C.F.T.U. in all Colonial Territories is of immense importance and that it deserves to be encouraged everywhere. The T.U.C. takes a very serious view of this matter, as also does the I.C.F.T.U. Am I right in saying that the T.U.C. has made very strong representations to the Secretary of State? Do we gather that those representations will be carefully considered and steps taken to prevent this kind of thing, because where there are trade unions this creates a very bad impression?
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I entirely agree with what the right hon. Member has said about the work of trade unions in Kenya and elsewhere. This incident in Kenya had nothing to do with their work. We are in touch with the T.U.C. and will keep it informed and keep the House informed if hon. Members ask about the matter. We are anxious to strengthen and enhance a strong trade union movement. But one of the things which has caused anxiety has been the way in which Mau Mau had penetrated the trade union movement. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] When I saw the T.U.C. some months ago I had to explain that 50 trade unionists had been detained in connection with Mau Mau activities during "Operation Anvil" and that only after careful and detailed examination by the special branch was it possible to release 17 out of those 50. That is why I am always anxious to help the work of genuine trade unionism. I could not possibly allow a different law to apply to trade unionists as such from that applied to other people.
§ Mrs. Castle
Would not the right hon. Gentleman admit that Mr. Gaya, the official representative of the I.C.F.T.U. in Nairobi, who has been arrested, has never been suspected or accused of Mau Mau activities?
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I certainly never said anything of the sort and I am only too glad to say that I believe that to be absolutely true. That makes it all the more important when I say that his investigation had nothing to do with political matters, but was concerned solely with a routine search for property which had been stolen. After the hearing on 12th January, we should be in a better position to form our own judgments on the matter.
2051 The hon. Lady asked me a number of questions about the resignation of Colonel Young. We had much discussion about this last year. I made a long statement about it. I agreed the statement with Colonel Young and with the Government of Kenya, and in the interests of tranquillity and looking to the future rather than to the past, I do not propose to go over that ground again.
I should, however, like to say that a great deal of action has been taken, largely due to the improved security position in Kenya, to bring about happier relations and good co-ordination between all those in the Administration and in the police and security services who have to work together to bring the emergency to an end. The way in which this co-operation is taking place among men and women of all races is one of the happiest auguries for the future of Kenya.
Although the House is quite right to be jealous of its obligation to keep a watch on all that goes on throughout the whole Colonial Empire, I trust that none of us will fail to see these disasters like the Kamau Kichina case, when they happen, in perspective against a background of a rapidly improving position, which has been brought about in the main by the loyalty and self-sacrifice of the people of Kenya themselves.
§ Mrs. Castle
May I not have the right hon. Gentleman's vindication of what he said to this extent: that he does not deny that the district officer to whom I referred had been gazetted on 24th October for a position of the same rank in another district?
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I understand that he is serving in the lowest rank in which he is entitled to serve to start with. It has to be a paper transaction; as most hon. Members concerned with Administration know, when a man leaves one post it is not taken for granted that he will be dismissed. On paper, he is transferred, because he must be borne on the books of some part of the Administration. The case is now under inquiry under the 2052 Colony regulations and it would be rather a misuse of the regulations in Parliament if we talked further about it when the inquiry is not yet complete.
§ 1.12 p.m.
§ Mr. James Griffiths (Llanelly)
My hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) has raised a number of very important issues. The Secretary of State knows that we have all been disturbed about the terrible case of Kamau Kichina. The right hon. Gentleman has indicated today that all the papers will be laid in the Library. May I take it that that includes the evidence taken at all stages of the inquiry right to the very end?
One of the things which disturbs us very much is that in this case the charge was reduced from murder to one of causing grievous bodily harm. As the right hon. Gentleman knows from Questions which I and others have put to him, that has disturbed us. It continues to disturb us. That was done on the basis of medical evidence, and it is important that the medical evidence is made available with the other papers.
I intervene only to indicate that, in view of the seriousness of this issue, we propose to return to it when the House resumes in the New Year. We believe it is time that the House had a full opportunity of discussing these matters and the Secretary of State a full opportunity of dealing not only with the Kamau Kichina case, but with the whole position, which has caused anxiety and ought to be debated much more fully than can be done today.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I note that and I am glad of it, for the fullest possible discussion of all these things is desirable. As we know, the Kenya Government have never accepted or tolerated a rule of fear or counter-terror. They have always resisted demands for summary trials and have enforced the rule of law. They have nothing to fear from the fullest possible discussion. I will do my best to lay all the relevant papers in the House. Although I cannot give an undertaking that every single document will be there, I will do the best I can.