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Although these various fantasies about African development contrasted in their alliterations on forced labor, there was a unity of tone on the issue of communal forced labor. In the wider sense, all the various theories on African development supported the legitimacy of colonial rule in Kenya. The preservation of communal labor allowed the colonizing mission to accumulate profit from the peasant sector. The differing ideas about African development and the role of coercion also played a role in sustaining the legitimacy of communal labor.

First of all, Crewe’s dispatch did not reference government forced labor, which continued under the Village Headmen Ordinance. 55 The second issue that undermined Crewe’s dispatch was taxation. On March 23, 1908, a group of settlers led by Lord Delamere marched to the governor’s house in Nairobi to demand solutions to the labor problem. Among other requests, the marchers called for a repeal of the Labour Rules; a reorganization of the Native Affairs Department, with the installation of a department head more sympathetic to the settler’s viewpoint; and increasing government help in acquiring labor.

Due to the low wages, in the period up to World War II, most plantation workers were migrants who traveled to work sites and labored for three or four months to meet a target. 26 Although the census data are spotty, the estimates from the chief native commissioner, John Ainsworth, in 1918 give more statistical insight into the labor picture. 27 Out of this number, he postulated that the total labor pool was probably about 1,800,000 people. From this number, he asserted that approximately 846,000 were males.

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A Trip to the Safari Park

by Michael

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