Protecting Bad Intel in a Dirty War: Britain's Emergency in Kenya and the Origins of the 'Migrated Archives', 1952–1960
Europe Across Boundaries
This chapteranalyzes the colonial recordkeeping practices established in Kenyad uring the Emergency (1952Emergency ( -1960) ) through the reorganization of intelligence services. In doing so,itanalyzes information managementduring the Emergency as an attempt to establisha nd controlo ne legitimate perspective of the counter-insurgency.The BritishColonial Government(BCG) responded to its operational ignorance during the Emergency with aviolent system of screening,aflimsy use of legal evidence,
... rogram of censorship and propaganda and lastly asystem of securitizing documents.The latter would form the basisofthe regulation of Kenya'sarchives,which the administration gesturedtoonly in its final yearsinpower. Thus, the processofrecordremoval at the end of colonial rule was according to a similar logic as in the documents' creation: to secure intelligence and concealt he role of both the BCG andC olonial Office in the systematic use of violence. "There ares ome people, be they black or white, who don'tw ant others to rise abovet hem. They want to be the source of all knowledgeand share it piecemeal to others less endowed." -Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, 1964.¹ "Thea rrangement, security and access to Government classified papers are matters for the Government, and fall within the confines of official secrecy."-TomN eil, 1960.² "We know that certain people haver ealized the possibilities and advantageso fp enetrating the Government'ss ecrets.T his is at hreat to security which is bound to increase, and Note: This chapter is based on the author'sd issertation, "Curating the Colonial Past: Britain's 'Migrated Archives' and the Struggle forK enya'sH istory",a nd av ersion of it wasd iscussed at the 2019 workshop, "European History acrossB oundaries",acooperation between the Universityo fO xforda nd the Leibniz Instituteo fE uropean History. Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, Weep Not, Child, Oxford1 987, 21.N g ũ g ĩwa Thiong'oi saKenyan writer whoi sw ellk nown for his linguistic advocacyo fK ikuyu and other non-European languages. His debut novel, here cited, focuses on the relationship between Africans and white settlers in colonial Kenya.