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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Judgement on a Colonial Governor: Sir Percy Girouard in Kenya
Author:Maxon, Robert M.ISNI
Periodical:Transafrican Journal of History
Geographic term:Kenya
Subjects:colonial administrators
History and Exploration
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/24328706
Abstract:In his article 'Canada in Africa: Sir Percy Girouard, neglected colonial Governor' (In: African Affairs, vol. 83, no. 331 (1984), p. 207-239), A.H.M. Kirk-Greene provides a sketch of the career of a man whom he judges to have been a 'great' administrator. The present article critically reviews this assessment by examining the last year (1911/1912) of Girouard's almost three-year Kenya governorship, and shows that Kirk-Greene has overlooked a particularly significant example of Sir Percy's ineptitude which provoked strong Colonial Office (CO) displeasure. Girouard's relations with the CO had deteriorated as a result of the Governor's performance in several critical incidents. Girouard's handling of the Maasai move from the Laikipia plateau and the promises of land on that plateau for settlers was a major cause of misunderstanding between London and Nairobi. Another issue was his handling of the 1911 Cole affair. Galbraith Cole, a prominent settler, was brought to trial on 31st May 1911 charged with the murder of an African whom he suspected of stealing sheep from his herds. Despite Cole's confession, the jury of white settlers found him not guilty. In spite of the CO's repeated insistence to deport Cole, Girouard was not prepared to act as the CO desired. CO officials were extremely unhappy with what seemed clearly to have been an attempt to avoid responsibility in the matter. The author concludes that careful research in colonial records needs to be done before any kind of judgement on a colonial governor can be reasonably made. Notes, ref.