SUSPICION IN KENYA
Race War 'Inevitable'
This is the last in a series by Jack Scott, Sun writer, on the Mau Mau war in Kenya.
May 15, 1953
NAIROBI, Kenya. "Wherever a white man has come with a gun, a fountain pen or a Bible, a mighty inevitable has begun."
The words are those of Canon T. F. C. Bewes, secretary of the Church Mission Societiis. They are apt for the whole of today's African story and particularly for Kenya and its present Mau Mau troubles.
The "mighty inevitable," of course, is the struggle between black and white.
Canon Bewes is also among those on the record who believe, as he has put it, that "economic distress is the parent of Mau Mau."
'Keep Black Man Down'
Dr. L. S. B. Leakey, the foremost authority on the Kikuyu, is another. Mau Mau, in his opinion, is merely a manifestation o f "genuine grievances."
If grievances are not re moved, he says, the present military campaign to suppress the secret society will be a waste of time: "Mau Mau will merely raise its head again under another name at some future date."
The disturbing thing about Kenya today is not the terror ism of the Mau Mau but the i act that it has been so effect ive in deepening the old wounds of distrust and su spicion and that so few white men are able to share the views of Canon Bewes and Dr. Leakey.
Many still stubbornly believe, as Dr. Daniel Malan believes in South Africa, that the only way to solve the mighty inevitable is to "keep the black man down."
There are influential men in Kenya today who will tell you seriftusly that the Mau Mau trouble came not because the Kikuyu was denied opportunity, but because he was given too much opportunity.
There is a strong movement to break away from the protection of British colonialism and to substitute "home rule." And very often "home rule" means, first and foremost, a policy of putting the black man In his place."
'Socialists to Blame'
I sat yesterday having tea with one of the most respected men in Kenya. He is a tall, handsome, white-haired man whose patrician face is distorted by bitterness when he speaks of Kenya's troubles.
"The Socialists in Britain are the cause of all this," he says jndignantly. "'Up with the natives and -down with the white man!' That's their policy. The Colonial Office is the greatest evil in the world. They've made this bloody awful mess.
"Those of us who settled and pioneered this country have no say whatever. We're under the thumb constantly of some outsider appointed in London, some ambitious dipbmat whose only interest in Kenya is as a stepping stone in his career.
"The white settler can't pass anything unless he is prepared to gang up with the niggers." He leaned forward, his eyes bright with anger.
"Who do you think knows the nigger best?
"Those of us who have devoted our life to Kenya? Or some blasted fool from Whitehall?
"They say 'Be kind to the nigger'. We know it can't be done. If the English would leave us alone just one month we could end this Mau Mau thing.
"British justice! My God, man it just doesn't work here. These murderers should be hanged in front of huts and their huts should be burnt to the ground. That is their own form of justice. It is all they know or respect.
No Role But Serf's
"Why," he went on, "we'd never have had this problem in the first place if we'd had a realistic policy. The Kikuyu has got all the benefits of the white man. They're breeding like rabbits and consequently they're outgrowing the land. We need a whole new policy f birth control . . ."
As I talked on I found my self thinking of a speech made by Jomo Kenyatta when he was sentenced to seven years for "counselling the Mau Mau."
"The white man," Kenyatta had said, "destroys the very basis of the old tribal way of life and yet offers them no place in the new society except as serfs."
This is obviously very true in Kenya.
Most people here who can claim any real knowledge of the black man's outlook concede that Mau Mau developed from tribesmen who had been exposed to the benefits of the white man's society and who thus developed a hunger for more education, more political power, more equality economically.
"The odd thing about the Mau Mau," one missionary told me, "is that he is never a true Christian and yet never a true pagan. He is a rebel created out of conditions which are so common throughout all Africa: the development mentally of the native, yet never the development of h;s rights.
It is the tragedy of Kenya that these conditions invariably, in the final analysis, hurt the white more than the black.
Although the Mau Mau's days are numbered, Kenya is a crippled and beleaguered country. It will be years before it recovers. No land can be a happy one where everyone carries a gun. But Kenya's troubles go deeper than mere fear.
Its economy is imperilled by a spending of perhaps $5,-000,000 in its efforts to put down the Mau Mau". It may spend as much again before the end is reached.
Immigration has fallen off to nothing. The tourist trade is at an end. Nairobi's colorful safari organizers sit brooding at the Equator Club . bar, pining for the American millionaires.
Outside capital has slowed down to a trickle. When it was announced recently that a British cement company would carry out its plans for a Kenya plant, in spite of Mau Mau, Nairobi's business men were almost pathetically grateful.
Property yalues have sunk alarmingly. Every real estate firm has long lists of farms for sale such as they never had in the serene pre-Emerg-ency days.
Governm ent spokesmen speak hopefully of the anti-Mau Mau expenditures "flowing into the economic bloodstream." Most property owners talk glumly. and perhaps more realistically of next year's taxes.
I met one classic case in the farmlands Known as the "White Highlands." There, in a snug, rose-covered bungalow, lives a retired British Army officer and his wife.
"We've decided to move again," he said sadly. "New Guinea this time.
"Thought we were set for life when we settled down to enjoy our old age in India. Well, you know what happened to India. So we came to Kenya. Now this. Got so a chap can't find any place left that's peaceful."
Wedge Driven Deep
Since virtually every white man relies in one way or another on Kikuyu labor, there's some understandable gloom about the wedge that Mau Mau has driven between black and white.
Even those loyal Kikuyu who have chosen to follow the whites, at the risk of their lives, are looked upon with suspicion. It will be years, if ever, before the old and once easy relations of master and servant can be resumed.
It is tragic that this should happen in a land so potentially rich and so blessed as Kenya.
The other day I went for a tour of the front with Maj.-Gen. R. A. Hull, who flew in from the Middle East for a quick look at this strangest of wars.
Our jeep rolled through the green valleys, over small crystal streams (stocked with fighting Rainbow trout), past farms with rich crops and fat cattle.
The general voiced then what seems to me one of the best commentaries on Kenya's struggle.
"What a hell of a place for a war," he said.