HC Deb 27 April 1950 vol 474 cc134-5W
141. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what was the nature and extent of the recent disturbance in Bechuanaland; what is the present nature of the restrictions now imposed on Seretse Khama; and what steps he has taken to find out the present attitude of Bechuanaland leaders in regard to the Seretse Khama issue.

Mr. Gordon-Walker

The extent of recent disturbance in the Bamangwato reserve was as follows:—

The kgotla (tribal assembly) which the High Commissioner had summoned for the 13th March to hear the announcement of His Majesty's Government's decision could not be held as the result of the activities of bands of Seretse's followers, who picketed all means of access to the assembly ground.

On the 14th and 15th March gangs of young ruffians were prevented by the police from burning down the house of an African doctor in Serowe alleged to be hiding Tshekedi. On the 11th April a crowd of Seretse Khama's followers attempted to interfere forcibly with the lawful removal of cattle and property belonging to a supporter of Tshekedi Khama. Police intervention was necessary and eleven people were arrested. The movement of the cattle was subsequently completed under escort, and no further disturbance has been reported.

The conditions on which Seretse Khama may be allowed to revisit the Protectorate and the Reserve are as set out in paragraph 21 of the White Paper issued on 22nd March, Command 7913. In order to ensure that these conditions would be observed, Seretse Khama was asked and agreed to give specific undertakings in writing on the occasion of his recent visit to his wife at Serowe. His Majesty's Government have taken their decision on the question of recognition of Seretse Khama, and they do not feel called upon to invite the expression of views thereon by the chiefs of the other tribes in the Protectorate; but any views that they may express will always be given due consideration.

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