HC Deb 02 May 1892 vol 3 cc1768-9

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether it is the fact that the British East African Company have been unable to communicate with Uganda, or to receive any information with reference to the condition of the country in that district since December last; and whether he is able to state what is the present position of the officers engaged in the survey of the Mombasa Railway, and at what distance they are supposed to be situated, by the last accounts from Mombasa and the Lake respectively?


The difficulties of communication between the British East Africa Company and their officers in Uganda are due to the great expense involved in sending caravans to and fro between Uganda and the coast. The last expedition to Uganda was sent in August last. No communication has been received from Uganda since last October. On the 5th March last Captain Macdonald wrote from Mackado that the survey party had reached Kikuyu, and had found a practicable route for the railway for 350 miles. Kikuyu is about 150 miles from the Lake. There had been a slight delay at Mackado due to difficulties in obtaining supplies and transport.


I understand from the hon. Gentleman that no news has come from Uganda at all since October last?


No news has been received through the English sphere of influence. The news which has reached us has come through the German sphere of influence. As far as I have been able to trace it, it comes from a trader who resides at the south end of the Lake. It appears that in February last he wrote stating that two gentlemen named Ash and De Winton, missionaries to the west side of the Lake, had been killed. A month later another communication was received from him, stating that they were both quite well. The same gentleman had also written to the effect that Mwanga had been driven out of the country, and was on the west side of the Lake, collecting a force for an attack on Uganda. But in the last letter, written in March last, the gentleman stated that Mwanga was now in the German sphere of influence at the south side of the Lake, and not at the west, as previously reported by him.