HC Deb 13 March 1957 vol 566 cc1118-9
15. Mrs. Castle

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many Africans in Kenya have been arrested since the latest revision of the emergency powers; and for what offences.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

From the 8th January to 7th March, 8,989 Africans were arrested for offences connected with the emergency—most of them for unlawful travel and breaking curfew. Since the second part of the Answer is long and detailed, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mrs. Castle

Is it not incredible, now that the emergency is over and Dedan Kenyatta has been disposed of, that Africans should be arrested at this rate, 8,000 in a few weeks, for emergency offences? Does not this show that most of these offences have nothing to do with security at all and that many of these cases are of Africans wanting to go into Nairobi to find work or to see their families? How can we prevent a recurrence of the emergency unless we show more humanity and abolish these offences altogether?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I recognise that the numbers are very large, but I think they also represent the degree of normality which is returning [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—perhaps hon. Members would listen—in that large numbers of Africans now believe that the emergency is virtually over. As a result of this, they tend to want to flock back again to Nairobi. It is most important that nothing should arise in Nairobi in the foreseeable future which is likely to lead to another "Operation Anvil". These restriction orders are neessary, but I recognise that, particularly in the Kiambu district, where there is overcrowding, steps must be taken to provide employment—there and elsewhere—which will tend to make people less anxious to enter Nairobi. These arrests do not mean, of course, that these people were necessarily convicted. The punishments vary from a return home to fines and things of that kind. I will circulate further information in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Dugdale

Is it not a fact that persons who are arrested and detained for any cause whatever, even if afterwards they are released, are deprived of the right of either going to meetings or of voting? Will these people be added to the list?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I do not think it follows by any means that arrest under this Ordinance would lead to the withdrawal of a loyalty certificate, but I will let the right hon. Gentleman know the definite answer on that point.

Mr. K. Robinson

Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that these laws governing restrictions on travel are being too harshly applied? Does he not further agree that it is essential for Africans to be able to travel to Nairobi to seek work

Regulations involved Type of offence Number arrested
Emergency Regulations, 1952:
Regulation 2 Contravention of restriction orders 81
Regulation 4E Contravention of special orders affecting Nairobi 79
Regulation 8A Illegal possession of firearms 2
Regulation 8FA Acting as a terrorist 13
Regulation 16A (and allied provisions) Unlawful travel 3,771
Regulation 16B (and allied provisions) Failure to carry identity card 905
Regulation 22A Being in a prohibited area 24
Police Ordinance, 1948, as amended by Emergency Regulations Breaking curfew 2,118
Emergency (Kikuyu, Embu and Meru Passbooks) Regulations, 1954 Passbook offences 1,775
Emergency (Communal Services) Regulations, 1953 Breach of communal services order 210
Emergency (Control of Crops, Food and Dwellings) Regulations, 1953 Breach of order made 2
Emergency (Control of Antibiotics and Sulpha Drugs) Regulations, 1953 Unauthorised possession or supply of scheduled drugs 9
TOTAL 8,989