HC Deb 05 May 1960 vol 622 cc1234-5
11. Mr. Wall

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, in order to reassure public opinion in Kenya, he will make a statement of his intentions regarding the release of Jomo Kenyatta.

Mr. Iain Macleod

The Governor stated on 31st March that he remained of the view that in prevailing circumstances the release of Jomo Kenyatta would be a danger to security. I am firmly convinced that his return to normal life in Kenya would in present circumstances bring a direct threat to the maintenance of law and order and thereby would prejudice the fulfilment of our recent decisions for orderly advdnce in that territory. I therefore fully endorse the Governor's decision.

Mr. Wall

Is my right hon. Friend aware that his reply will give considerable satisfaction in Kenya and do much to restore confidence, particularly of African government servants of the Kikuyu loyalists.

Mr. Macleod

I think that it should be said that there is nothing particularly new in my reply. I have made it at least half a dozen times.

Mr. Swingler

Will the right hon. Gentleman also take into account the not inconsiderable public opinion in Kenya and here that Jomo Kenyatta, having been sentenced and punished, and having served his punishment, should now be regarded as, and should be, a free man?

Mr. Macleod

When I last replied to that question about two weeks ago I said that this case, like all others, is kept under review by the Governor, and that is the position. But there are very special circumstances surrounding the detention of this man, and there never has been any disagreement between the Governor and myself as to how this case should be treated.

Mr. S. Silverman

Can the right hon. Gentleman give any information as to what these special circumstances are, so that we can understand what would be the special danger to security if this very old and very sick man were allowed to return to normal life? When the hon. Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) reassures the right hon. Gentleman about public opinion in Kenya, will he bear in mind that that is the public opinion of only one section of the population?

Mr. Macleod

If the hon. Member paid a visit, as I did quite recently, to the Kikuyu reserve he would find that what he says about African opinion is by no means true. As far as I know—and the last report I had was only a few weeks ago—Jomo Kenyatta is in very good health indeed. He was charged with the offence of organising Mau Mau, was found guilty and sentenced to imprisonment on that charge. He was subsequently restricted by an order of the Governor, following a recommendation of the court. That is the position, and I think that people who know the circumstances in Kenya think that these are special circumstances which must be in the mind of the Governor.