Charles Withers Payne

Name ID 2294

See also

Conner, Shaun Memories of Colonel T.S.Conner DSO KPM
Page Number: 05
Extract Date: 1970

Sadly however, my father had to return home to the UK and died later that year from complications following an operation. The Col continued to run Ogaden for another 2 years and then decided that aged 75 he should move to live in Nairobi where Paddy Purchase was living and where he had many other friends through his interest in Sports etc. He sold Ogaden to a Derek somebody i cant remember, but he was never paid as agreed and got the farm back with the help of his great friend Charles Withers Payne. Charles was a lawyer who at some point had blotted his copy book but was able to practise in Tanzania. A lovely old gent who drove an American Chev he called Queen Mary and who was well known by the farmers and who in later years as you read on, you will learn was honoured for his work in trying to get the Tanzanian Government to stick to its promises to the farmers.

Eventually the Colonel sold Ogaden to somebody else but the money of course was stuck in a Tanzanian bank. Thus in 1970 when he was told there was a farm for sale in West Kilimanjaro, 2000 acres next to his old friend Piet Hugo he decided to buy it. He put a manager in place and commuted down as often as he could but of course during the early to mid 70's, Tanzania had closed its borders with Kenya due to a dispute over East African Airways and Tourism amongst other things. This made his visits difficult so his friend Charles Withers Payne helped him get the necessary paperwork as a land owner to avoid too many questions from the rather difficult border officials on both sides. He developed a system of arriving at Namanga in his car and appearing very old and doddery and exaggerated the use of a walking stick! He was by then getting on for 80 anyway. This usually got him through but hidden in his car were supplies for the farm and requests from friends as at this time it was difficult to get many basic things in Tanzania. He also always attended the St George's Day Dinner in Arusha if he could get down.

Extract ID: 5526

See also

Conner, Shaun Memories of Colonel T.S.Conner DSO KPM
Page Number: 06
Extract Date: 1975

compulsory purchase

The purchase of this farm turned out to be very wise and beneficial as though he bought it because he found it difficult not to have a farming interest and realised there wasn't much point in having the money sitting in a Tanzanian bank, when the Government announced in 1975 that they wanted to compulsory purchase 26 arable farms in West Kilimanjaro, the British Govt offered compensation to the British farmers which could be paid out of the country. Of course if you were one of the many non British farmers then you were paid in Tanzanian shillings and the money was virtually worthless. It was for his work in helping all these farmers that Charles Withers Payne was awarded an OBE.

Thus ended my uncles farming life in Tanzania. He would have liked to have bought a farm in Kenya but as he was not a Kenya citizen he was not able to buy land, only a residential house. He had spent 28 years farming in Tanzania, nearly as long as his first career but he retired to Nairobi, supported the Rugby, Hockey and Cricket teams had many friends and visited the UK and SA every other year to see his family. In fact he lived for a further 19 years and died 2 months after his 99th in 1994. I am pleased to say that i went out for his 99th Birthday and though he had given up driving a few months earlier and was suffering from the ravages of old age, his mind was as sharp as ever. The Col was a tremendously loyal friend and he never went to the UK or SA or anywhere else without visiting old friends from Tanzanian days. He regularly saw Piet Hugo in SA who of course was very depressed as he had been treated so badly having been thrown off his farm and kicked out of the country with 24 hours notice to leave. It was a case of mistaken identity!

In 1988 he took Jonathan Scott the Photographer, writer and now TV presenter, who he had befriended through Rugby in Nairobi, on a long safari introducing him to the game parks of Tanzania and used the opportunity to visit Oldiani again. He was by then, 93 years old!

Extract ID: 5527