HC Deb 13 July 1955 vol 543 cc1922-3
34. Mr. Alport

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many changes in the appointment of the district commissioner, Lamu, Kenya Colony, took place between January, 1950, and May, 1955; and the average period of the tenure of this office by successive district commissioners.

The Minister of State for Colonial Affairs (Mr. Henry Hopkinson)

There have been five changes; the average period of tenure has been eleven months.

Mr. Alport

Is my right hon. Friend aware that these frequent changes make efficient administration in the colonial areas almost impossible? Has he any plans for ensuring that the tenure of office of administrative officers in circumstances such as these shall be longer than has been the average in many parts of the Colonial Empire during the last few years?

Mr. Hopkinson

Yes, I quite agree, but there were special circumstances in this case. Two of the officers were moved on health grounds and another asked to retire. Both the Governor of Kenya and my right hon. Friend are very conscious of the need to maintain continuity in the appointment of district commissioners and district officers. It is the aim of the Governor to keep a district commissioner in a district for a period of five years, but I am sure the House will realise that there are particular difficulties in Kenya connected with the emergency which make it difficult to carry out what we hope will become normal practice.

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