Control & Crisis in Colonial Kenya: The Dialectic of Domination

By Bruce Berman | Go to book overview

tenor and scope of the changes in the structures and practices of the state to be determined by piecemeal responses to the exigencies of accumulation in estate agriculture, commerce and industry. In the course of this increasingly pervasive, if fragmented, preoccupation of the state authorities with the process of accumulation, the crucial task of maintaining the legitimacy of colonial rule and effective control over the African population faded into the background. This was expressed in the neglect and consequent stagnation of the Provincial Administration. Despite rapid growth elsewhere in the state apparatus, the number of administrative officers in the field grew slowly and this was largely to replace officers lost to the armed forces during the war; an actual decline was registered between 1949 and 1951. In the latter year the number of officers in the Provincial Administration was 127, slightly below the peak of 129 reached in 1931 before the impact of Depression and war. 126 Equally important, no serious attempt was made by the central authorities in Nairobi and London to reconsider its role and methods in the light of the commitment to accelerated economic growth and the rapid transformation of the other branches of the colonial state apparatus. As we shall see in Chapter 7, the cleavage between the expanding functional departments and central administration in Nairobi and district administrators in the bush grew into a deep chasm. Tied closer together by improvements in transportation and communications and by the expansion of state intervention into the political economy of the colony, they grew further apart in personnel, outlook and method.


Notes
1.
Metropolitan resources sanctioned and actually advanced under the Colonial Development Acts from 1929 to 1951:
Sanctioned Advanced
£million
1929-39 10.0 6.5
1940-44 20.0 4.5
1945-48 30.8 14.0
1949-51 60.2 44.0

( M. P. Cowen, 'The British state and agrarian accumulation in Kenya after 1945', unpublished ms., 1980, Table 1, p. 2).

2.
J. M. Lonsdale, "'The growth and transformation of the colonial state in Kenya, 1929-52'". Seminar paper, Cambridge University, October, 1977, p. 10.
3.
Charlotte Leubuscher, Bulk-Buying from the Colonies, London: Oxford University Press, 1956, pp. 1-7.
4.
L. H. Brown, "'Agricultural change in Kenya, 1945-1960'", Food Research Institute Bulletin 8( 1) 1968, p. 72; Roger Van Zwanenberg with Anne King, An EconomicHistory of Kenya and Uganda 1800-1970

-292-

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