HC Deb 12 February 1959 vol 599 cc1330-1
26. Mr. J. Johnson

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what restrictions have been placed upon public meetings in Nairobi to be addressed by African-elected members of the Kenya Legislative Council and, in particular, by Mr. Tom Mboya.

Mr. J. Amery

All public meetings may be held only upon licence.

The authorities have decided not to issue further licences in Nariobi for the time being.

Mr. Johnson

Does not the Under-Secretary think that it was a particularly stupid thing to do, since, in the eyes of all observers, it was thought that this was putting the monarchy into the cockpit of domestic Kenya politics? Why cannot the Government be magnanimous about this and set an example of inter-racial tolerance by allowing the Africans to hold their meetings?

Mr. Amery

I am sure that the hon. Member will appreciate the practical difficulties involved in this. He will realise that an added burden was placed upon the police force, and also that since, under the emergency situation prevailing in Kenya, there has to be police supervision for public meetings, it was impossible for the police to undertake the necessary training and to supervise at the same time.

28. Mrs. White

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he now has information on what consultations were held with African-elected members before it was decided to ban African political meetings owing to police rehearsals prior to a royal visit to Kenya and if he will make a statement.

Mr. J. Amery

Yes, Sir. No consultations were held with the African elected members. A ban on political meetings has been imposed only in Nairobi, where there have been disturbances, including the stoning of tribal police.

African political meetings continue to be held elsewhere. The extra duties of the police caused by preparations for the Royal visit had to be taken into account by the authorities in deciding whether meetings could be allowed without an undue threat to public order. This also answers the hon. Member's Question on this subject of 22nd January.

Mrs. White

Does not the hon. Member agree that, in view of the present situation in Kenya, it was most tactless to ban only African meetings? Does not he also agree that if this ban had been extended to European and Asian meeting the elected members would have been consulted? Should not the Africans have been consulted on this matter?

Mr. Amery

These are matters where the Government of Kenya have to take the responsibility.