HC Deb 01 August 1956 vol 557 cc1384-6
40. Mr. Rankin

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement on the demonstration by people of Luo on 31st May at Mombasa and elsewhere against the consolidations of their land holdings in the Nyanza province of Kenya; what action has been taken against those responsible; what is the density of population in the areas affected by these consolidation schemes; and what plans are proposed to relieve land hunger.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

At meetings in Mombasa and Nairobi on 31st May and 3rd June, demonstrations occurred when a Government spokesman attempted to explain proposals for land consolidation in Nyanza in order to refute false rumours. Subsequent discussions with leading Nyanza Africans in Mombasa and Nairobi together with broadcasts have gone far to allay fears and suspicions about these proposals.

Since the majority of those involved in the demonstrations genuinely believed the rumours, and in view of their subsequent good behaviour, no action has been taken against them. Only one consolidation scheme has been prepared: it is not yet in operation. Population density in this area is 393 to the square mile. Experience indicates that consolidation and planned holdings should relieve pressure on land where it exists.

Mr. Rankin

Is the Minister aware that in Nyanza there is real land hunger and that that was the root cause of these demonstrations? Is he further aware that adjacent to the Province there are the fertile lands of the White Highlands? Is it not possible to use the under-developed parts of the White Highlands to relieve the overwhelming population density that exists in the Province?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

That is another question. What I am concerned about is that land at present under occupation by Africans should be properly used. I am glad to say that after they had been taken to see some of the spectacular results of consolidation in the Kikuyu Reserve there has been a change of view.

Mr. J. Johnson

Whilst not opposing the introduction of land consolidation, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman to be very careful how fast he goes? Is he aware that not only in Mombasa on the coast but also inland at Kisumu in Nyanza itself there have been riots?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I am very conscious of that and of the need to carry the people with us. The president of the Luo Union, with whom we are in constant touch, is helping to do that.

Mr. Baldwin

Can my right hon. Friend confirm that the Agricultural Department of the Kenya Government is making tremendous strides in meeting the existing land hunger and that the progress is wonderful?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Yes, Sir.