HC Deb 15 December 1954 vol 535 cc1768-9
28. Mr. George Craddock

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies on what grounds administrative officers in Tanganyika discouraged the formation of the Citizens' Union by the Washambaa in the Usambara Highlands.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Administrative officers have not discouraged the formation of a citizens' union by the Washambaa. I understand the main object of the proposed union is to conduct a campaign to try and remove the present chief, who was elected by 79 out of the 80 votes of the Electoral College.

At a recent meeting attended by 20,000 to 30,000 tribesmen, the Government were urged, with very few dissentients, to refuse registration of the union. No application to register such a union has been received by the Registrar of Societies in Tanganyika.

Mr. Craddock

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the local people sought the support of a lawyer so that he might be able to frame for them a constitution for a citizens' union or a political organisation? Is he further aware that administrative officers called a meeting to denounce the people who approached the lawyer, as a result of which they were given a very bad name? Is he aware that the local indigenous people think we are not supporting democracy but rather supporting dictatorship?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

If an overwhelming majority of a meeting of 20,000 or 30,000 ask us to do something, and we follow their wishes, it is difficult to think that we are not listening to the people's will.

Captain Duncan

How can we have a citizens' union in a country in which there are no cities?

Mr. Snow

Will the right hon. Gentleman say what is the structure of the Electoral College of the Washambaa?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

That certainly does not arise out of this Question.