HC Deb 08 May 1957 vol 569 cc958-9
17. Mr. Stonehouse

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies on what evidence of usurping judicial powers the district branches of Pangani and Handeni in the Tanga province of the Tanganyika African National Union have been closed down.

18. Mr. J. Hynd

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what are the acts prejudicial to peace, order and good government committed by the Pangani and Handeni branches of the Tanganyika African National Union which have led to the closing of these branches.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Convictions have been obtained against members of the Tanganyika African National Union in both the Handeni and Pangani districts on charges of usurping judicial authority. The decision to close the branches of the Union in these two areas was taken not only on this account but also because a most careful administrative inquiry had clearly established that they had been used to build up a general attitude of contempt of authority and to promote a spirit of anarchy.

Mr. Stonehouse

Will the Secretary of State say if the men who were accused were on the executive committees of these branches of the union? Who conducted the inquiry to which he has referred?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

The inquiry was in the usual form. As to the officers in the Handeni district, the chairman of the Kwamsisi sub-branch was himself convicted in February for usurpation of judicial powers and false assumption of authority, although at the time of his conviction he claimed that he had ceased to be a member of T.A.N.U. In the Pangani district, three members of T.A.N.U. were, on 2nd March, 1957, convicted of usurping judicial powers. As the hon. Member knows East Africa so well, he will know what a possibly dangerous effect it would have if a widespread conviction grew that the ordinary courts were not to be resorted to but that some bogus courts set up by T.A.N.U. were in fact the judicial authorities.