By Robert Nowell MORE. important than the actual terms of the Kenya constitution are the goodwill and the friendship that have been built up during the five weeks of talks at Lancaster House between the African elected members and the Europeans of the New Kenya Party.
This was the chief impression I formed when on Monday, the day after Mr. lain Macleod had brought the Kenya conference to a successful conclusion, I spoke to two Catholics among the delegates: Mrs. Dorothy Hughes, of the New Kenya Party, and Mr. Henry Muliro, founder and leader of the Kenya National Party.
Both agreed that "the fact of bringing us from Kenya to London has helped us to start talking together". But why did they not begin this fruitful dialogue while they were still in Nairobi?
"The pressures in Kenya were too much.' I was told. When the delegates came to London they found that, whatever their race, they were alike strangers, and so they came to realise more fully their common loyalties to Kenya.
" Now it is vital for the people who took part in negotiating the constitution to sell it jointly to the people of Kenya." said Mr. Muliro. Thus on Monday he will be addressing a mainly European ,ind Asian audience at Nakuru in the heart of the White Highlands.
More--it seems likely that in the coming general election the New Kenya Party and the Kenya National Party will enter into an electoral pact to support each other's candidates in different constituencies.
The fears for the future expressed by the United Party, whose claim to represent the majority of European settler opinion is hotly contested by both the New Kenya Party and the African members, were "more personal fears rather than anything else", I was told. "Only time and the sincerity of the Africans will wipe out these fears. and now the Africans have the chance to do this."
The background to these fears was explained to me earlier by another Cotholic, Major Frederick Day, an old boy of Downside who settled in Kenya in 1951.
Major Day, who entered the Legislative Council at a by-election for the Aherdares not quite two years ago when Mr. Blundell first came out with his New Kenya Group idea. reminded me how the European settlers had been encouraged to go to Kenya in the first place by the British Government, when in the early years of this century this was considered the only way of making the Uganda railway pay.
" By virtue of our money and skill and effort we have produced the main bulwark of Kenya's economy," he told me. "We produce the majority of the revenue from 54 per cent. of the land."
What the United Party wants is a clear-cut scheme so that, should conditions become impossible for the European farmers. they can get out on reasonable terms.
At the worst he sees no future for the European settlers. " But we will be only too happy if things do turn out well,' he said. A compensation scheme would provide an insurance in case things do not go well and would help to avert a panic among the European farmers. who. he claims. feel that they have been abandoned and betrayed by the British Government.
If Kenya does succeed in building up a non-racial nation—as it seems to have every hope of doing now that European and African politicians have learnt to talk to each other as individuals and not as representatives of a race or community—the effects will he felt far beyond the confines of Kenya itself.