HC Deb 28 June 1962 vol 661 cc1339-40
10. Mr. Brockway

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (Central African Office) to what extent the conditions listed by the United National Independence Party of Northern Rhodesia for participation in the forthcoming election, particularly in relation to public meetings and political prisoners, have been met.

Mr. R. A. Butler

I think the United National Independence Party will find, when they have studied my reply to their representations, that their conditions have been substantially met. Subject only to the over-riding need to maintain law and order, both they and all other political parties in the territory will have the fullest possible freedom to conduct their election campaigns. As the hon. Member knows, there is no political prisoners in Northern Rhodesia.

Mr. Brockway

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that all of us are hoping that the U.N.I. Party will participate in the elections, but is he also aware that there are two problems which are still disturbing them very greatly? While there are no prisoners who are technically political prisoners, there is a considerable number of prisoners charged with other offences the motive of which is political. The second question is whether he is aware that there is still a limitation on public meetings, particularly where the rights have been taken from the chiefs and placed in the hands of the British district officer?

Mr. Butler

I sincerely hope that the U.N.I. Party will take part in the elections. My recent information, which I have from contact with Mr. Kaunda, leads me to hope that it will. I am aware of these other considerations, but I think that they are not likely to put off the U.N.I. Party from taking part in the election.