Setback for Tom

Met over luncheon or at a cocktail party, Kenya’s handsome, articulate Tom Mboya is one of Africa’s most winning personalities. But in his campaign to force Kenya’s whites to surrender their political control of the fertile British East African colony, Tom Mboya shows a steely contempt for moderatjon and half measures. His platform: complete electoral equality for Kenya’s blacks and whites by 1960, common schools for all races and a ban on further white immigration to Kenya.

Mboya’s “racist extremism” shocks even some of his fellow Africans—so much so that in July a group of African elected members in the colonial Legislative Council dealt a painful blow to Mboya’s prestige by breaking away from his leadership to form their own multiracial National Party, devoted to slowly increasing African representation, which would assure democratic self-government by 1968 for Kenya. To regain his political luster, Mboya promptly announced a new party of his own—the all-African Kenya Independence Movement. But last week fate dealt Tom another setback: the Kenya government nipped K.I.M. in the bud by refusing to grant it a license to function throughout the colony.

Protesting loudly, Mboya demanded that other parties be similarly restricted. But Kenya’s white rulers pointed to a 1956 emergency decree prohibiting formation of any all-African group that was not confined to a single district or administrative area. Talking darkly of plans to push ahead with his new party in legally disguised forms, Tom Mboya cut to the heart of the issue with the question: Why was it only Africans who were prohibited from organizing on a colony-wide basis? Said he: “We wait to see what action the government now takes against the Indian Congress, the Moslem League, and the European Convention of Associations.”

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