The Kenya Constitutional Conference in London's Lancaster House suffered a serious setback before it even started, Jan 18.
The Kenya Constitutional Conference in London's Lancaster House suffered a serious setback before it even started, Jan 18. The American elected-members, led by Mr. Ronald Ngala and Mr. Tom Mboya, refused to attend the opening meeting because British Colonial Minister Ian Macleod refused to admit as a special adviser to the African delegation Mr. Peter Koinange.
In his opening speech, during which he described the purpose of the conference as the planning of the next page in Kenya's constitutional evolution towards independence, Mr. Macleod said Peter Koinange was one of the only two men outside the Kenya regarded as responsible for the Mau Mau outbreak of seven years ago. It would be in appropriated for the conference to discuss the future of Kenya with such a man present and in a special position.
With 14 of the 50 delegates' chairs empty, Mr. Macleod continued with his speech, saying: "Independence is the ultimate objective, but it is not the task of this conference. The responsibility for decisions on the future of the country rested on the Government and not on the conference, but the Government would be guided by what was said at the talks."
Mr. Macleod said he hoped the conference would provide him with a summary of views on which he could base his recommendations to the British Cabinet.
Without mentioning the plan favoured by the African elected-members for universal adult suffrage, immediate responsible government and early full independence, he made it clear that no advance at this speed was foreseen.
Kenya Governor Sir Patrick Renison told the conference all Kenyans were as eager as the British Government to solve Kenya's problems.
Largest group at the conference is the multi-racial New Kenya group led by Mr. Blundell. The United Party, which has expressed fear of African dominance of European Kenyans should universal suffrage be instituted, is led by Group Captain Briggs.