HC Deb 20 January 1902 vol 101 cc309-10

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, whether he can state under what authority the slaves in the Island of Pemba, when receiving their freedom from the Court under the Decree of 6th April, 1897, are required to sign a contract whereby they agree to work for a certain employer for three days in every week for a term of years, in return for a plot of land, care in sickness, building material, and food for a limited period, the employer being in no way bound to employ the man on the other days of the week, or to pay him any money wages whatever; whether the freed slaves under this system are liable to be allotted to employers against their will, and denied any choice of residence or occupation: and whether steps will be taken to adhere to the intention and spirit of the Decree of April, 1897, as explained in the instructions issued by His Majesty's Government to the Consul General at Zanzibar respecting the abolition of the legal status of slavery.


The allusion is probably to the system described at page 9 of Africa No. 4 (1901) under which the Court used at one time to arrange a contract for the slave at the time the latter applied to be freed. In consequence, however, of a direction from home the authorities in Pemba abandoned this system. It seems then that the hon. Gentleman has been misinformed.