HC Deb 09 April 1959 vol 603 cc360-2
17. Mr. Brockway

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what subsistence allowances are given to the officials and members of the Zambia African Congress who have been rusticated in Northern Rhodesia; whether they are provided with beds and mattresses; and what utensils for their meals they are permitted.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Three shillings to 5s. a day, depending on the price levels from place to place. If a special diet is necessary for health reasons the allowance is increased as required. Families of restricted persons receive an allowance of 5s. to 10s. a day. The issue of beds and mattresses has been authorized. A free issue of utensils for meals has been authorized where the restricted persons were unable to take a reasonable quantity with them.

Mr. Brockway

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that I have a letter from one of those detainees describing the 5s. allowance as not even permitting him to have breakfast? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this detainee has been denied a bed and mattress and has to sleep on a prison mat and is still without a cup and saucer?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I should like to see that letter to check up on it before I make any comment on its veracity.

26. Mr. Swingler

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies on what evidence the Zambia African Congress in Northern Rhodesia was declared an unlawful association; when the Congress members who have been rusticated will be brought to trial; and what facilities for legal aid and advice they are receiving.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Evidence was available to the Governor-in-Council that registered branches and headquarters of the Zambia African National Congress were being used for purposes prejudicial to and incompatible with the maintenance of peace, order and good government. Some of the Zambia leaders have already been brought to trial. The question of bringing any others who were members of Zambia to trial on any specific charges is one for the Attorney-General of Northern Rhodesia. If any are brought to trial normal facilities for legal aid will be granted.

Mr. Swingler

These charges are remarkably similar to those made in Nyasaland, on which a commission of inquiry is now sitting. Will there be a commission of inquiry, or investigation, into the allegations against the Zambia Congress? Did not the right hon. Gentleman receive a telegram from the President of the Zambia Congress, Mr. Kenneth Kaunda, on 19th February, giving an assurance that the Zambia Congress was opposed to violence, but that it was opposed to the present constitutional arrangements? Is the right hon. Gentleman saying that it is unlawful for the Congress to oppose the constitutional arrangements in a legitimate way? Will he ensure that all those against whom allegations have been made will have a chance of answering those allegations?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I have nothing to add to what I have said before. The proscription of this organization has been greeted by Africans as a whole with widespread relief.

Sir A. Baldwin

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the Zambia Congress is a splinter group of extremists broken away from the main body? Is he aware that the great majority of Africans are only too delighted to think that this body has been done away with and that they will be free from intimidation?

Mr. Stonehouse

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a few weeks ago I spoke to the leaders of this organization and was assured by them that on no account—[Laughter] —

Mr. Callaghan

They are braying like a lot of asses.

Mr. Stonehouse

—would they resort to violence, although they were opposed to the constitution, and that there was in fact no instance of violence before the arrests occurred? In view of that, will the Colonial Secretary enable those who have been detained to reply to the allegations made against them?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I am afraid that I am no more reassured now than I was five minutes ago.