British civilian in Colonial Service in Isiolo Northern Frontier district, Nandi, Meru, Kenya 1946-1964, including Mau-Mau Emergency
REEL 1 Aspects of upbringing and education in Kenya and England: father's background as army officer and plantation settler, 1913; reasons for wanting to join Colonial Service in Kenya: "it was in a sense my home..my mother had been born in Basuta Land and I had always considered a job in Africa, possibly in the Administration...I was at prep school out there and I'd oput Kenya down as my first choice, my sister married a District Officer..I had some memory of a sort of kitchen Swahili and I had an idea of the sort of conditions which were prevailing in the country and that was a help...there were about a dozen other District officers with a Kenya background..they may have tried to find long term solutions whereas the bird of passage might think of a short term solution which would solve his own particular time. But on the whole I don't think this was true, many of the people with entirely English backgrounds achieved an identity with the country which was comparable to my own;" sense of friendship and identity with Africans; "there was a wonderful feeling of going home, the clear air and the views of the Rift valley, the smells and the noises were those I had known in my childhood"; first posting to Isiolo ("Provincial and District HQ of Northern frontier and gateway to northern frontier district as it was then") in 1946; being welcomed by Army officer Hugh Grant "he told me I must regard the Somalis and Boran like Highlanders, they had clannish attitudes"; killing of Hugh Grant by Masai herdsman; nature of frontier territory; recollections of colonial officer 'Uncle Recce'; formation of Wajir Yacht Club (in centre of desert) "water was the great problem amd the stocks sometimes had to go twenty miles to get water..the administartion formed the Wajir Yacht Club and the DC was usually the president of the Wajir Yacht Club and they had their won tie and it was a tremendous honour to have been a member of the WYC;" conditons at DO's house, Isiolo; first impressions, snake problem; help settlking into post from Goan district clerk "when I was a beginner someone would come in with a Shiree (which is some business that needs sorting out, either to sign a form or give permission or money);the Goans were very much the right hand of the administartion and extremely loyal and were not given credit for the help they gave to the populous at large"; dress of colonial staff and Goan clerks; tribal or admin police (Dubas) "the main executive arm of the administration" selected from wealthiest Somali and Boran; duties in Isiolo area "one of the main duties of the DO Isiolo was the humdrum task of keeping the furrow flowing...Isiolo was an osasis in a desert area and was fed by the furrow from the Isiolo river"; flora along river side; problems caused by interrupted water flow; administrative role, training of Dubas, benefits of local knowledge, language, mediating on inter-tribal disputes; court duties "learning court work is indeed extremely difficult and rather frightening for a brandnew DO whose automatiocally appointed a Third Class Magistrate and expected to be able to administer justice and to hold court and one is normally coached in this by the DC who is an experienced Magistrate and introduced to it gradually" (see photocopy of legal duties pp 9-10) story illustrating problem of harmonising British law and tribal laws/customs; locust control.
REEL 2 Continues: "during one's first tour as a DO it was the usual practice to be posted seveeal times to several districts (3/4 x 6 month stints in each district)...being left in one job would learn only a limited amount"; posting to Garissa district as acting DC; description of district; keeping Somalis out of district "one of the main jobs was to keep the Somalis from penetrating into the main body of Kenya..had the Europeans not arrived when they did the Somalis would have come down to nairobi and taken over..we felt it was our duty to protect the indigenous peoples against the incursions of these foreign tribes and so we tried to hold the Somalis on the line of the Tana River which we did with success"; question of loneliness "I had a little bush baby as a pet for companionship and my African cook and staff"; daily duties; differences between flora, fauna, peoples of each Kenyan district; contrasts between Meru and Northern Frontier; contrasts continued " purely African districts such as Meru where you had large population of agriculturalists growing maize, beans and coffee and other cash crops and the Nakuru settled area which was a district entirely of European owned settled farms in the cold open highland districts where the admin problems were totally different...there one was concerned with collecting taxes and to look after the courts attending meetings and dealing with complaints about the Government" (see photocopy p.14); differences bewteen tribes; upbringing among and opinion of Kikuyu "ther best and the worst of the Kenyan Africans (photocopy p.15); impressions of Kikuyu; importance for DOs to tour their admin areas; increase in paperwork, bureacracy, literacy of Africans; opinion of contact with, interest of Nairobi Secretariat in districts; story illustarting nature of relations between settlers and officials "I thought we got backing and support to a remarkable degree..I came from a settler fam,ily and understood that side of the fence. The big cricket match of the year was The Settlers versus The Officials and the settlers were pretty hostile to the officials who regared the settlers as uneducated unsatisfactory moneymaking people who weretrying to exploit the Africans and there was this sort of rivalry between the two groups"; greater integration between officials and settlers (marriages), always found a few like-minded highy educated and liberal settlers against the extreme reactionary right; (relations with settlers in detail pp.17-18); relations with missionaries; question of witchcraft, story of man terrorised by bicycle pump; recollections of work as DC in Nandi and tribes there; story of sounding of Nandi war horn; story of Nandi concerns over visit by Jomo Kenyatta: "when Kenyataa was coming to talk at Eldoretn they wer worried about Kikuyu domination of the Nandi area and they thought that JK should not come at this time, they wanted a regional organisation. They sounded the war horns and thousands of warriors started marching on Eldoret saying 'Kenyatta will speak there or we die' but again with help from the chiefs and tribal police and the local Nandi politicians we were able to restarin them"; sympathies with Nandi people; effect of missionaries on distinctive Kikuyu culture; description of Kikuyu dances.
REEL 3 Continues: opinion of basis of MM uprising "political hostility to the British governemnt which had been going on for a number of years"; story of incident of killing of chief loyal to British near Fort Hall in 1948 (photocopy p.22); belief that Kikuyu not figthing people "they would disperse at a whiff of grapeshot borne out by the uplands riot in 1950"; elements of Kiluyu demonstration/riot against administrators in uplands 1950 "there was plenty of evidence that trouble was brweing up in a big way..and it obviously should have been taken much more seriously than it was"; murders mark beginnings of MM, Lari massacre; Kikuyu sympathies with KAU; reasons for discontentment among Kikuyu (repossession of land); structure of MM organisation; posting in Limoro district, Keyenbu " a bad MM area"; shock and fear on arrival; settler hostility towards administration, belief MM not being effectively dealt with; difficulties of balancing loyaltie; difficulty in identifying enemy among Kikuyu; guard duties of DO's Kikuyu Guard, defences (photocopy pp 24-25); tasks in Meru district including villagisation of Kikuyu; opinion of villagisation; scouring forest with Home Guard for Mau Mau in Meru district; intelligence from District Intelligence Organisation ("a semi-military organisation"), role dressing up as terrorists and making contact with gangs; effects of new powers of control (eg: soil terracing and ditching had previously made little progress was now achieved in weeks, and freehold land tenure imposed via compulsory licensing "land consolidation"); view that MM improved relations between settlers, administartors and Kikuyu, had greater contact with each other, shattered stereotypes each side held about each other; opinion of effects of MM on progress towards independence; opinion that events moving too quickly; belief in greater need for paternalistic administartion in kenya than in West Africa (here had had long ckntacst with different civilisations); opinion of effects and legacy of british colonial administration in Kenya (photocopy p.31).