HC Deb 10 December 1963 vol 686 cc203-4
15. Mr. Goodhew

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he is aware that citizens of Nyasaland are still being detained and ill treated when found not to possess Malawi Congress Party membership cards; by what authority this is being done; and what action the police are taking to preserve law and order

Mr. Hornby

Isolated incidents of illegal detention or ill treatment of Africans have occurred in one district only during the past month. These actions have not had the backing of the party leaders. The Prime Minister, Dr. Banda, has constantly reiterated that they must cease. It is not a legal offence, as has sometimes been suggested, to be found to be without a Malawi Congress Party membership card. The police thoroughly investigate all complaints of this nature which are reported to them; and, when sufficient evidence is available, those accused are prosecuted.

Mr. Goodhew

I welcome the news that the party leaders do not countenance this sort of behaviour, but is my hon. Friend aware that the Malawi League of Youth has been responsible for a number of beatings-up in various districts prior to the month he mentions and, in particular, for the death of the person referred to in my Question No. 14. What is being done to stop the League of Youth from behaving in this way? Secondly, has the Attorney-General yet withdrawn his instruction to the police that they are not to institute proceedings for violence or intimidation without his personal permission?

Mr. Hornby

In reply to my hon. Friend's question about what is being done, I do not think that one can deal with the matter in general terms. I shall gladly have investigated any specific cases which my hon. Friend cares to bring to my attention. His point about the Attorney-General is another matter. If my hon. Friend will put down a Question, I shall gladly deal with it. Strenuous efforts have been made to deal with and overcome some of the teething troubles which emerged as the result of the reorganisation of the local courts in Nyasaland, and very great progress in that respect has been made.

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