25 NOVEMBER

WIDER POWERS OF COLLECTIVE PUNISHMENT AUTHORIZED IN KENYA

25 November 1952 – Sir Evelyn Baring, British governor of Kenya, issues new emergency measures designed to widen the conditions for the imposition of collective punishment on the kikuyu population in areas considered sympathetic to the anti-British Mau Mau insurgency.

The pro-Empire Daily Express commented the same day that “Africans in the Thomson’s Falls District, where Commander Jock Meiklejohn was fatally hacked by Mau Mau thugs two days ago may have their crops seized, their vehicles immobilised, their jobs taken away and their homes barred to them.”

The paper noted that “up to now seizure of cattle and other collective punishments have been applicable where a tribe or group has been openly hostile to the authorities. From tomorrow tribesmen who have not in the district officer’s opinion, taken reasonable steps to prevent crime will be ‘for it.'”  It however then added a note of caution, remarking that the measures “may produce more problems than they solve. If they create a ‘a pool’ of homeless hungry Kikuyu it is a safe bet that presently the ranks of Mau Mau will be increased by men and women so far innocent of membership or of other crimes.”  The paper’s objections however seemed to be primarily concerned more with administration efficiency than moral principles.

 

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