HC Deb 27 April 1961 vol 639 cc613-4
23. Mr. Callaghan

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if, in view of recent incidents in the Northern Province of Northern Rhodesia, he will review the administrative arrangements in the territory and ensure that the United National Independence Party is permitted to function freely during the forthcoming election period.

26. Mr. Swingler

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if his attention has been drawn to the imprisonment, punishment, and ill-treatment of supporters of the United National Independence Party of Northern Rhodesia in the Northern Province; what action he has taken to investigate these matters; and if he will take steps to ensure freedom of speech and association in the territory.

Mr. Iain Macleod

I am confident that no restriction will be placed on the lawful activity of any political party. The Governor has found no evidence to support the statement that supporters of the United National Independence Party have been maltreated. Where members of U.N.I.P. have been imprisoned this has followed breaches of the law, all of which have been brought to trial before the courts in the normal manner.

Freedom of speech and association within the law are ensured to all inhabitants of the territory.

Mr. Callaghan

Is the Colonial Secretary aware that his confidence is, unfortunately, misplaced and that the facts do not bear out his confidence? Is it not significant that the only complaints which are coming, some of which I have had an opportunity of investigating, pretty well at first hand, are coming from this province? If the right hon. Gentleman will not review the arrangements himself, will he ask the Governor to keep a careful oversight over the behaviour of some members of the administration in this part of the Territory?

Mr. Macleod

I have drawn the Governor's attention, in correspondence with him, to a number of allegations. That does not mean that I accept them in any way, but it is my duty to draw his attention to them. I should have thought that the hon. Member's suggestions were repudiated by the fact that in the last six months alone, I am told, no fewer than 125 branches of U.N.T.P. have been formed in the Northern Province.

Mr. Swingler

Will the Colonial Secretary say what form of inquiries into the allegations have been made? Did he see a few days ago a report of a speech made by Mr. Kenneth Kaunda, leader of the United Independence Party, giving chapter and verse about the treatment of some African citizens with whom he had stayed in the Northern Province? Have those allegations been examined and, if so, who has done the investigating?

Mr. Macleod

They have not been examined, but they are being examined because, apart from making a speech at a Press conference in London, Mr. Kaunda came to see me and discussed some of these matters with me. I have drawn this to the attention of the authorities in Northern Rhodesia, as I have said.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Will my right hon. Friend do his utmost to see that all lawful parties in Northern Rhodesia are able to function free of the sort of intimidation which has sometimes disgraced sections of the United National Independence Party during an election period?

Mr. Macleod

I am certain that it is essential that all parties, African and European and every other party, should function within the law and free from intimidation.

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