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By Opolot Okia (auth.)

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Extra info for Communal Labor in Colonial Kenya: The Legitimization of Coercion, 1912–1930

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There were no exemptions for Africans working on their own garden plots. As Acting Chief Native Commissioner O. F. ”35 However, African men could also gain exemption if they were headmen or members of councils; clergy; teachers appointed by district commissioners; hospital dressers appointed by principal medical officers; camp caretakers; and Africans approved by the district commissioners who were engaged in trade, business, or agriculture on their own accord. The exemptions in the 1920 amendment pointed to another side of the labor requirements under sections 7(h) and 8(c).

The growth of forced labor during the early part of Kenya’s history was a reflection of this articulation. Chapter 3 4 “Making the Lazy Nigger Work” 1 E uro pean Set tlers, the Stat e, and Fo rced L abo r, 1895– 1 9 1 9 C hapter 2 examined the early legal and ideological framework of coercion in Kenya Colony. In this chapter we go beyond the laws and delve into the operation of forced labor in Kenya from the colony’s inception in 1895 to World War I. More specifically, we examine the operation of forced recruitment of African labor for private individuals or Europe settlers.

One of the recommendations of the board was the institution of a poll tax. 56 It followed an earlier hut tax in 1902, which taxed the dwellings of married African men. The initial payment for both the hut and poll tax was three rupees. In order to pay the taxes, African men had to either be employed or own enough land to produce commodities for the market. 57 Africans were now tax-paying subjects of a government over which they had no rights of participation. The state had sided with the interests of private European accumulation.

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