HC Deb 13 April 1937 vol 322 cc812-3W
Major Milner

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, in any ordinance dealing with the squatters on European estates in Kenya under consideration, with a view to regularising their position, consideration will be given to include provision for native tenants with security of tenure?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

As I explained in the House on 9th July last, the resident labourers referred to by the hon. Member are not tenants in the ordinary sense, but have been permitted as part of the conditions of their employment to reside, and to keep a certain number of cattle and other animals, on their employers' farms. The natural increase in the numbers of these natives and their stock is already creating serious problems in the European areas, and the Kenya Land Commission recommended that steps should be taken to make it clear that these natives have no vested interests or rights in the land which they are permitted to occupy. The hon. Member's suggestion would be incompatible with this recommendation. On the other hand, it was recognised that if a native who has been absent from his reserve for a number of years is required to remove his family and stock from the farm on which he has been employed, he may experience difficulty in finding suitable accommodation in his reserve and may suffer hardship. The Commission accordingly recommended that Government should accept the obligation of finding land to which time-expired labourers can go, and this recommendation has been accepted by the Government. For this reason the process of removal must be gradual.