ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Kenya Asians Get Notice

In peremptorily deporting eight Asians last month, six for being "disloyal" and two on grounds of "national security", the Kenyan Government was bringing down two birds with one stone. No evidence was produced of the disloyalty of the deported, but quite clearly their crime was that they were known, or suspected, to be sympathetic to the opposition Kenya Peoples Union of the former vicePresident, Oginga Odinga.

In peremptorily deporting eight Asians last month, six for being "disloyal" and two on grounds of "national security", the Kenyan Government was bringing down two birds with one stone. No evidence was produced of the disloyalty of the deported, but quite clearly their crime was that they were known, or suspected, to be sympathetic to the opposition Kenya Peoples Union of the former vicePresident, Oginga Odinga. The action against them fits well with the Government's determination to suppress the KPU and restore Kenya to oneparty rule, The deportations were really meant to be a lesson to "the Asian community whose material support neither the KANU nor its politicians can do without, all their indignation over the alleged disloyalty and antinational conduct of Asians notwithstanding. Understandably the KPU, in its official statement on the incident, wondered "whether the action taken by the KANU Government was intended to force the Asian community to finance KANU and to identify itself with it".

At the same time, the deportations accompanied by violent attacks on the Asian community's disloyalty to Kenya and its failure to identify itself with Africans are likely to go down well with the African masses, disappointed at their failure, despite every official encouragement, to make any appreciable dent in the Asians' monopoly of the country's trade and commerce. Undeniably, the charge of failure to identify themselves with the Africans does stick to the majority of the Asians: less than five per cent of the 200,000 Asians have responded favourably to the Government's persistent pressure to accept Kenyan citizenship; far more have opted to be British citizens.

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