George Padmore - History Lesson

On February 6, 1952, the late Elizabeth II was on safari in Kenya when her father died and she ascended to the throne. As with all the other colonial territories, the east African colony fell under her dominion. On October 20th of the same year, the British authorities declared a state of emergency in Kenya. They launched a military campaign against Kenyan anti-colonial insurgents – the Kenya Land and Freedom Party (derogatively dubbed the “Mau Mau” by the British press) – who were demanding land, political and social rights, education, and freedom.

The very term “Mau Mau” was invented by the settler Press to discredit the Africans and justify the white legalized terror

The Protestant converts were known in the language of the Africans as the Wa-Inglesa (party of the English) and the Catholics as the Wa-Fransa (party of the French), while those Africans who were converted to Mohammedanism by the Arab slave traders were called Wa- Islamu (party of Islam).

there were only thirteen British settlers in Kenya in 1901. Between May 1903, and December 1904, two hundred and twenty-two thousand acres of land were alienated from the Africans and distributed to three hundred and forty- two Europeans

Kenya has the greatest proportion among its inhabitants of ex-soldiers, generals, colonels, majors, of any country in the world. It contains a goodly number of names in Burke’s Peerage — and some terrible specimens in the flesh.

[I]Lord Delamere had the first pick of the best land. He took over one hundred thousand acres of the most fertile country in the Kikuyu region. Other aristocrats like Lord Francis Scott, uncle of the Duchess of Gloucester, a relative of the British royal family, and the Earl of Plymouth, secured about three hundred fifty thousand acres between them.

The son of the Duke of Abercorn acquired an estate of thirty thousand acres, while other aristocrats and land speculators formed joint stock companies through which they control vast plantations, such as the East Africa Estates, which owns over three hundred fifty thousand acres. The chairman of this company is Viscount Cobham. His uncle, the Honorable R. G. Lyttelton, holds 14,108 shares in the company. Viscount Cobham is a cousin of the Right Honorable Oliver Lyttelton, the present Tory Secretary of State for Colonies.

Other big land-owning companies are the East Africa Syndicate, with three hundred twenty thousand acres, the Grogan Forest Concession with two hundred thousand acres, and the Dwa Plantations, controlling over twenty thousand acres. The Kikuyus alone lost over five hundred thousand acres, for which they received not one penny compensation.[/I]

According to the annual report of the Department of Labor, there were in 1952 over forty-six thousand Africans employed in government service receiving even less than two pounds per month. Out of this paltry stipend, all adult male Africans must pay their poll and hut tax and provide food for themselves and dependents. The cost of living in Kenya in 1953 had increased some two hundred per cent, while the staple food of the Africans, a maize flour known as posho, had increased over six hundred per cent since 1938

Only white children enjoy free compulsory education. The majority of the African children of school-going age receive no education

On November 14, 1952, four months after the present state emergency in the colony was declared, the Governor ordered the closing of of all African independent schools on the ground that these institutions were "dangerous to good government of the colony." Since the annexation of Kenya and the imposition of British rule, not one African doctor, engineer, chemist, scientific agriculturalist has been trained at a British university.