The Bureaucratic Dialectic
The five characteristics of the colonial state in Kenya delineated at the end of Chapter 2 were contained within a particular form of bureaucratic state apparatus common to the colonies of the capitalist powers in the 20th century and yet were adapted to the specific features of the political economy of Kenya. It was a prefectural administration, staffed by an elite cadre of political officers acting as direct agents of the central government, and exercising diffuse and wide-ranging powers within the territorial subdivisions. This apparatus provided effective political control as well as the structural and spatial framework on which other agencies of the state rested. The central element of this apparatus was the Kenya Administration, comprising a central Secretariat in Nairobi, and the Provincial Administration of Provincial and District Commissioners dispersed throughout the colony. Until 1945 the Kenya Administration possessed greater status and power than the various functional and technical departments, such as Education, Public Works and even Agriculture. In this chapter we shall examine the structure, internal processes, personnel, and ideology of the Administration, and its relations with the metropolitan state and with other parts of the state apparatus. Our concern will be primarily with the first two of the five characteristics outlined at the end of Chapter 2 -- the limits of control from the metropole and their determinants, and the expression inside the state apparatus of the contradictions in the Kenyan political economy. The remaining three characteristics will be the primary concern of the two succeeding chapters.
in the colonial state
Prefectural administration in the colonies was an adaptation of an administrative apparatus with deep historical roots in the rise of the European nation-state and the early development of capitalism. Like