HC Deb 18 February 1929 vol 225 cc782-3
12. Mr. SNELL

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been drawn to the circular issued by the Government of Uganda in the kingdom of Toro, which introduces a completely new system of land tenure into the country and, at the same time, destroys the basis of the present tribal and community life in Toro; by which Government Department the circular was issued; and how much consideration was given to these proposals before they were issued?


My right hon. Friend has seen in the Press an article containing what is described as a translation of a circular in the Lutoro language regarding land in Toro, but he has not received from Uganda a copy or translation of any such circular; steps will be taken to ascertain the position from the Governor. A Committee was appointed in Uganda in 1926 to inquire into grievances of the Mukama and people of Toro connected mainly with certain difficult land questions, and if a circular has been issued with the authority of the Protectorate Government, it will presumably have been based upon recommendations of that Committee.


Can the right hon. Gentleman give information in regard to a later date if I put down a question again?


Yes, but it will take some time. I understand it is a local vernacular circular applying to the Ba Toro province of Uganda only, and we shall have to write, as we could not ascertain the facts by telegraph.


Can my right hon. Friend say whether, in fact, there has ever existed to date any system of land tenure in the kingdom of Toro that could be considered by the Protectorate Power as reasonable in the interests of the natives themselves?


As my hon. Friend is aware, there has been some dispute regarding the existing rights of occupancy of individual peasantry vis à vis the tribal chiefs in that part of Uganda for a long time past. I have not myself seen the report of the Committee which investigated the question which was a purely local Committee.


Has my right hon. Friend any information to show whether the so-called King or Mukama of Toro has in fact proved himself worthy of the office that he occupies?