UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The underlying causes of the 1952 emergency in Kenya and a consideration of some of the immediate results. Kournossoff, Gwendolen Mary


The rise of the Mau Mau secret society can be attributed to underlying political, social, and economic causes. Politically, it was caused by lack of training of Africans in democratic methods of government and lack of legitimate outlets for political activities. Socially, it was caused by the clash of the old and new civilizations in Kenya; the disruption of tribal institutions and authority; the inadequate educational facilities for Africans; and above all, the pronounced racial discrimination, both legal and customary, dominating society in the Colony. Economically, it was caused by land-hunger, urbanization, poverty and destitution of the African people. The Emergency legislation of October 20, 1952, was passed for the purpose of suppressing the Mau Mau Society and restoring law and order. By 1958, though law and order had been restored, most of the Emergency legislation was still in effect and though some attempts had been made to alleviate the underlying causes of the disturbances, fundamentally the situation had not changed. The main grievances of the African people have not been dealt with courageously, with the result that the present situation is full of potential danger.

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