HC Deb 13 June 1961 vol 642 cc169-70
16. Mr. Turton

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many persons were charged with administering or taking unlawful oaths, and of belonging to or managing an unlawful society in connection with Mau Mau activities, during May, 1961 in Kenya.

Mr. Iain Macleod

Twenty-eight persons were arrested and charged in May with administering or taking oaths in connection with Mau Mau. No persons were charged with managing an unlawful society.

Mr. Turton

In view of the alarming renewal of Mau Mau activities which these figures reveal, will my right hon. Friend make greater efforts to identify the headquarters of these Mau Mau cells and also the ringleaders of these activities?

Mr. Macleod

Certainly, but I think that my right hon. Friend, who is well informed on these matters, will know that the special branch information in Kenya is pretty good and that we have very close tabs indeed on the headquarters and the personnel of these different movements.

Mr. Snow

Having in mind the recent cases of conveying fraudulent telegrams designed to stir up inter-racial tension, will the Secretary of State pay close attention to a tendency which, I think, is becoming apparent, namely, the use of the very sinister name "Mau Mau" by persons who are somewhat irresponsible?

Mr. Macleod

It is true, of course, that a number of oaths which are taken have nothing to do with Mau Mau. That is a perfectly fair point and well made, if I may say so. On the other hand, it is equally true that some of the outbreaks of oathing recently have had very disturbing features indeed which are clearly connected in some way or other with the unhappy days of the emergency.

Mrs. Castle

Will the Secretary of State confirm that in the recent murders and other acts of violence, which we all deplore, there has not been any connection traced with any political motive?

Mr. Macleod

People are under arrest in connection with the first charge and, therefore, I do not wish to go into detail. No evidence has come to light so far in either case which could identify these acts as political.