2 MARCH 1962, Page 13

Sta,—Your leading article in your issue of February 16 contains

two assertions which cannot go un- challenged.

The first is that the European settler in Kenya is in the same position as an investor who has 'plunged' his capital into an unsound scheme. The settlement of Kenya was a deliberate act of policy on the part of Her Majesty's Government who offered direct encouragement to British farmers to emigrate to Kenya up to as late as 1960 and, through the agency of the Kenya Government, has sponsored tenant farming and assisted purchase schemes to help them.

It is probably not 'realised that the majority of British and other European farmers in Kenya hold their land on leases from the Crown and that those leases while providing for quiet enjoyment of the land impose definite financial obligations on the tenant in respect of development. The following clause taken directly from an existing lease might be of interest: The value of the developments . . . to be effected on the land within the first three years and the first five years respectively of the term shall be Shs: 238,612/- and Shs: 357,918/-.

The Crown Lands Ordinance, 1915, under which the

vast majority of the present leases were granted, contained up to 1960 a clause prohibiting the management of the land by a non-European.

The second assertion is that the European has failed in the sphere of human and political relations with .the African. It is surely unfair to blame the European for failing to ascribe to the Africans a degree of political and economic maturity which Her Majesty's Government certainly did not ascribe to them up to 1959. The rate of acceleration of British policy from 1959 onwards has imposed incredible strains on Kenya as a whole and it is to the credit of the majority of the European community that they have so far withstood those strains.

Her Majesty's Government has made good use of the British and other European settlers in develop- ing Kenya's economy, in the sphere of government and in the maintenance of law and order. It would be deplorable if she now makes further use of them as whipping-boys for the problems which her own policies, past and present, have largely created.


Adviser to

Kenya Coalition Parliamentary Group Room 200, Lancaster House, SW!