The mission-state relationship in Kenya, 1888-1935
This is a study of the relations between Christian missions and the colonial state in Kenya from the time of the Imperial British East Africa Company (1888), to the year before the Second World War (1938). The study concentrates on three protestant missions, the Church Missionary Society, the Church of Scotland Mission, and the Africa Inland Mission. The term 'colonial state' is used here in a wider sense to include the three races in the country. In order of racial dominance, they comprised a dominant European minority of missionaries, settlers and officials; a trading Asian community; and a majority native population. This study addresses itself to the major issues which brought the missions and the state, or a section of the state, to a point of interaction. These issues include slavery, land, labour, the Indian Question, and African political associations. In order to introduce the issues in this study, it has seemed useful to include a first chapter outlining the factors which influenced mission-state relationships in Colonial Africa, with examples drawn from Congo, Malawi, Uganda, Rhodesia, and the Portuguese colonies of Angola and Mozambique. Admittedly, the selection of these areas is rather arbitrary, but they provide an adequate range for comparison. The second and third chapters survey the relations between the missions and the state on the East African coast prior to 1900. The central issue in these chapters is the question of slavery and the slave trade, with great emphasis being laid on its effect on the mission-state relationship then, and in the future. Chapter four is central to this study. It explores in depth for the first time the extent to which missions became involved with the alienation of native lands. It has been necessary to go into minor details to show the amount of land applied for by the missions, how it was acquired and used, and how beneficial it was and to whom. A major theme in the chapter is the extent to which land acquisition, maintenance and disposal by the missions prepared the background for future mission-state relationships in general, and enhanced the evolution of a settler-missionary identity in particular. Chapter five discusses labour as an issue in the mission-state relationship, and focuses mainly on the Kenya Missions' Volunteer Corps during World War I, and the labour crisis which emerged in the country after the war. An attempt is made here to assess how missionary response to government labour policies contributed to the emerging pattern of the mission-state relationship. The labour issue is also looked at in the context of the relations between the missions and Africans, especially chiefs. The chapter concludes with an emphasis on the growing alliance between missionaries and the white colonial society. Chapter six discusses the Indian Question within the context of the mission-state relationship. The controversy over Indian claims for equality with Europeans, which culminated in the Devonshire White Paper of 1923 asserting African paramountcy, is here seen to have resulted in a high degree of alliance between missionaries and the white society on the one hand and to have started a process of general deterioration in relations between missions and radical African politicians on the other. Chapter seven assesses the involvement by missionaries in the formation of African political associations in Central Kenya after 1919. The question of the representation of native interests is discussed here to highlight the conflicts between the radical African politicians and the loyal and missionary-directed associations. The chapter builds up to the circumcision controversy of 1929 in which the loyal associations sided with the missions against the Kikuyu Central Association and female circumcision. Further, the controversy is seen to have ushered in a process of deterioration in the relations between the missions and the state, culminating in the resignation, in 1929, of J.W. Arthur, the missionary representative of native interests in the Legislative and Executive Councils. Chapter eight addresses itself to the role of Archdeacon Owen in Nyanza politics, especially his role in the Kavirondo Taxpayers' Welfare Association. Emphasis is laid on the significance of Owen's role for his personal relations with the officials, and for the relations between his adherents and the state. A concluding chapter attempts to bring out the various themes which tie together the issues covered in the study. In this section, the settler-missionary identification is assessed; the influence of the forces in Britain (the metropolitan factor) for the mission-state relationship in Kenya is highlighted; and finally, an attempt is made to put the mission-state relationship in a historical perspective.