HC Deb 18 June 1930 vol 240 cc405-6W

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether any changes have recently been made in the status of the Chief Native Commissioner in Kenya Colony; and, if so, what is the nature of these changes?


In March, 1929, the late Government approved proposals for the reorganisation of the Provincial Administration in Kenya. Previously, districts in which there are no native reserves had been administered as separate units outside the provincial organisation by Resident Commissioners under the direct supervision of the Colonial Secretary, while native reserves and a few districts which embraced both native reserves and non-native development were grouped in Provinces under Senior Commissioners immediately responsible to the Chief Native Commissioner. With the establishment of district councils under the Local Government (District Councils) Ordinance, 1928, in non-native areas, and the development of native councils operating under the Native Authority (Amendment) Ordinance, 1924, it was considered desirable to focus at local Points the interests of native and nonnative development, and to provide a local liaison between them. It was, therefore, decided to maintain, where geographically possible, separate native and non-native districts, but to form into Provinces groups of these districts which have closely connected interests.

This decision involved an alteration in the then existing system of administration. Under that system, Senior Commissioners in forwarding communications from district officers addressed the Chief Native Commissioner, by whom those communications which affected settled areas were forwarded to the Colonial Secretary; the Chief Native Commissioner thus occupying, as regards matters of purely native administration, a posi- tion in relation to the Colonial Secretary of more independence than that of other heads of Departments. It was reported that a consistent application of this procedure had been found impracticable for administrative reasons, and it was decided to restore to the Colonial Secretary his ordinary status as Chief Executive Officer under the Governor. It is understood that as a result of this decision, Senior Commissioners now communicate direct with the Colonial Secretary on all matters concerning the administration of their Provinces, whether affecting settled or native areas, and the Colonial Secretary refers to the Commissioner for Local Government, Lands and Settlement, who is, in effect, Secretary for non-Native Affairs, or to the Chief Native Commissioner, who is, in effect, Secretary for Native Affairs, or to both, as circumstances require. The Chief Native Commissioner communicates with the Governor through the Colonial Secretary in the same way as other heads of Departments, and the normal procedure followed when the Governor desires personal discussion with the head of a Department similarly applies in his case. The Chief Native Commissioner retains his seat in the Executive Council and in the Legislative Council, and the only alteration in the status of the post is that involved in the arrangement set out above.

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