Nairobi 1899,Colonel Ainsworth,Lord Delamare and Somalis.
In April 1899 Ainsworth established a temporary camp for the near approach of rail head and the intention to make Nairobi the Railway Headquarters.At this time there existed some Masai Kraals near Muthaiga and towards the Nairobi river.They were shortly afterwards moved to Mbagathi and Ngong.In August 1899 the company,Imperial British East African Company, instructed him to move the Provincial Headquarters from Machakos to Nairobi where rail head was now established.On the 24th he proceeded to select and reserve sites for offices,residences,and police lines.The military lines had already been decided upon.A site was selected for his own Bungalow, temporary civil offices, police lines and a goal erected.The National Bank of India opened a branch in Nairobi in 1900 and by the end of 1901 a telephone system was established.
In 1906 Ainsworth was replaced as the sub-commissioner at Nairobi,but his town had the hallmarks of the Mogadishu in 1890.The Africans were forced to live in the native reserves nearby,where their tribal chiefs and headmen forced them to attend Barazas,meetings,called by the European Governor and his white assistants for purposes of Colonial administration.Forts,police lines,and military barracks were built in the outposts of the colony.Indians and Arabs were classified as non natives with a status above the African but below the European who now had replaced the Arab overlords.They were the new masters of the Africans.Ainsworth had already put in place Somali headmen for all the subsections living in Nairobi.One of them was Sheikh Ali Mohamed Nairobi,a Somali Herti, who was dismissed by Ainsworth in 1902.He was later to play an important role as the head of the Salihiyya Islamic Tariqa,order of sufisim, in Jubaland and Northern Kenya.The police were constantly called to quell the many fights in the Somali villages which were later to form the present day Eastleigh town.
The first meeting of Lord Delamere and Colonel John Ainsworth was at Machakos,the former had traveled overland from British Somaliland with Somalis and camels.These Somalis were headmen of the caravans acting as interpreters and guides for the early European explorers and later colonial Administrators in Eastern Africa.Most of these Somalis with their families moved from British Somaliland to Kenya and were engaged in livestock trading,squatting on the farms of Lord Delamere where they were in constant conflicts with the White settlers.Luckily Delamere was elected as the leader of these Europeans and later as the Governor,he had a soft spot for the Somalis.It was after his death in 1931 that the European settlers turned the tables on the Somalis,driving them and their cattle from Laikipia district where they had made a great fortune from stock trading.These Somalis who were always at loggerheads with each other and the Colonial administration, moved to the urban centers and towns,Nairobi and Isiolo carrying the biggest population.It is from these areas that they started their agitation for equal rights with the Asians,a move that will cost them to be labeled as Aliens and non citizens of Kenya.
They were the Isaak and Herti tribes of British Somaliland who could speak English,Arabic,Swahili and later the Masai and Kikuyu languages.Some had traveled earlier to Europe and Asia where they acquired the knowledge of commerce and warfare.The Herti Somali tribes were the Dulbahanta,Majertein and Warsangeli,combining with the Marehan and Ogaden to form the Darod ;while the second and third major groupings of the Somali nation were the the Hawiye and Dir.The Isaak and Herti were employed as interpreters and soldiers by the British colonialists in the areas of Northern Frontier Province of Kenya and Jubaland protectorate. Their Somali cousins there were illiterate nomads engaged in cattle raiding and tribal wars for territories with water and pasture for their animals.
Part 3: The Isaak,Herti and their Somali cousins in the Northern Frontier District (N.F.D)Kenya1916–1962 and Jubaland 1900–1925.