HC Deb 11 June 1959 vol 606 cc1160-1
22. Mr. Stonehouse

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will now make a further statement on the situation in Uganda.

26. Mrs. White

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will now make a further statement on the present situation in Uganda.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Since my hon. Friend's answer on 2nd June, the Governor has reported that a riot took place at Katwe on Thursday, 4th June. I am circulating in the Official Report the text of the Uganda Government's statement on it. Apart from this, there have been no riots or other disturbances in Buganda, although incidents of assault, intimidation and felling of coffee trees by Uganda National Movement supporters have continued in the rural areas of Buganda.

Mr. Stonehouse

Whilst I admit that the situation in Uganda is confused, will the Colonial Secretary bear in mind that the action taken by the authorities in Uganda has contributed to the unrest and that the high-handed action taken in arresting the moderate political leaders is almost as deplorable as the action taken some years ago when the Kabaka was deported? Will the right hon. Gentleman not see that there is a legitimate allowance made for political organisations in Buganda as well as outside, so that we can reach again an opportunity for peaceful political progress?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

The action taken by the authorities has been at all times designed and limited towards bringing about a restoration of law and order, and I hope that anybody who is in Uganda or goes to Uganda, even if they go from outside, from the United Kingdom, will bear this need in mind.

Mrs. White

In view of the very difficult situation in Uganda at present, will not the right hon. Gentleman agree that it may be rather unrealistic to carry on discussions about the form of the Legislature while neglecting more constructive proposals and the more general discussion of the future of Uganda as a whole?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

No, Sir. People in the rest of Uganda are very anxious that further progress should be made in Uganda as a whole. It is, however, of first importance to remember that Buganda, though a very important place, is not the whole of Uganda. The need in Buganda is the restoration of law and order and the resumption of Buganda partnership in the Legislative Council. These seem to be essential preliminaries to any progress.

Following is the text: Seven people including one woman were admitted to Mulago Hospital with gun shot wounds and nine members of the Uganda Police were injured in an affray in Katwe, Kampala, yesterday evening when the police were forced to open fire with Greener guns to disperse a hostile crowd of about 800 to 1,000 who had earlier refused to disperse despite repeated warnings, a baton charge and an attempt to move them with tear gas. 2. According to a police report, an officer on patrol with two men near Katwe Market at about 5.30 p.m. saw a crowd which he estimated at over 500. They were drumming and dancing and in "an excited state". 3. As outdoor gatherings of more than 250 had been declared illegal without a permit, the police officer investigated. One of the men was wearing a tie with the letters U.N.M. on it and many of the people were shouting "freedom". One known U.N.M. leader was seen on the outskirts of the crowd. As it appeared to the police officer that it was not a bona fide social gathering, he tried to persuade the crowd to disperse. The crowd ignored the police whereupon the officer asked a Kabaka's Government chief who was present to assist. Initially the crowd partially dispersed but very shortly afterwards reassembled in greater numbers. 4. A stand-by police platoon of 40 was summoned and on arrival prepared to move the crowd away. The crowd were given a further time in which to disperse. They did not do so whereupon they were formally warned in English, Swahili and Luganda being told "In the name of the Queen I order you to disperse and go to your homes peacefully." The crowd did not obey the order and three men were seen to be preparing piles of stones. 5. Two baton sections totalling 18 police then approached but were stoned so heavily that it was necessary for them to withdraw. Tear gas was then used but the police were still being heavily stoned another crowd were seen to be attacking the police transport in the rear. 6. As this police party of 40 was insufficient to deal with the mob which had now gathered it withdrew to the police transport under heavy stoning but then came into contact with the other crowd attacking the transport. The stoning increased and it was necessary for the officer in charge of the police to order the police riot guns ("Greener" guns) to be used. As a result the crowd temporarily withdrew. However further police reinforcements arriving shortly afterwards were immediately and heavily attacked with stones as they were getting out of their transport. The officer in charge of this police party had to order further controlled Greener gun fire. 7. From that time onwards there was a series of sporadic attacks on the police party by stones thrown from behind buildings. Motor traffic on the Katwe by-pass was also stoned. The police continued to deal with these incidents as they occurred until 10.15 p.m. when the area was comparatively quiet. 8. No rifle fire was used at any time. 9. During these incidents a number of police vehicles and private cars were damaged. 10. The Medical Superintendent in charge of Mulago Hospital stated this morning that the condition of the six wounded men in the hospital was satisfactory and they were not seriously hurt. The woman is however more seriously ill.
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