ADMINISTRATION AND POLITICS IN COLONIAL KENYA
BERMAN, B J
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This study employs contemporary bureaucratic and organization theory in an analysis of the decision-making and communications processes and characteristic attitudes and values of the Administration in Colonial Kenya and the effect of these factors on its relationship to the larger political system and the processes of socio-economic development in the colony. The Kenya Administration was an integrated prefectural organization characterized by conservatism, resistance to change and innovation, and a preoccupation with the maintenance of law and order. The decision process was protracted, the policy focus fragmented and short- run and critical decisions could be made only with extreme difficulty. The Central Secretariat, was preoccupied with the affairs of the European and Asian immigrants and the Provincial Administration largely left on its own to deal with the Africans. Although largely of middle-class origin, administrators possessed the attitudes and values of aristocratic, organicist conservatism. They were ambivalent about both African society and the development of bourgeois industrial society in Britain. Colonial Kenya had a dual political system. In the European arena the white settlers gained a dominant influence over important policy areas, but were blocked by the Administration and London authorities from achieving self-government. This led to a stalemate over the direction of the political and economic development of the colony. In the African arena the Provincial Administration acted as an authoritarian and paternalistic guardian. African political activity was dealt with through a combination of cooptation and coercion, and African politicians were viewed as corrupt and power-hungry exploiters from whom the un-sophisticated tribesman had to be protected. Rapid socio-economic development after 1939 led to a rising level of conflict between the Africans and the Administration, as well as an internal challenge to the Administration's dominant position in the government from emerging functional ministries. An escalating crisis culminated in the’ Mau Mau' Emergency of 1952 which appeared at first to restore the declining power of the Administration. The political initiative, however, moved towards the metropolitan authorities who, by 1960, sought an accommodation with the Africans and largely ignored both the Administration and the settlers. In comparative perspective the processes of the Kenya Administration are more typical of British colonialism than the mythical image of indirect rule and similar to those of French colonial rule. Colonial administration was an expression of traditional conservatism, not bourgeois capitalism and is different from imperialism. The decolonization process in Africa represented the end of colonialism, but not necessarily the end of imperialism.
UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI
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