HC Deb 14 June 1951 vol 488 cc209-11W
95. Mr. Hollis

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what members of the Bamangwato tribe were forbidden to attend the recent meeting with him at which those present told him that they did not wish for a return of Tshekedi Khama to their territory; and for what reason they were forbidden to attend.

Mr. Gordon-Walker

The only persons who were advised not to attend the Bamangwato tribal meeting with me in Serowe were followers of Tshekedi Khama who had gone with him to live at Rametsane in the neighbouring Bakwena Reserve. Less than 48 hours before the meeting Tshekedi Khama sought permission to send a deputation of these people to the Kgotla at Serowe. His application was refused by the Administration because in the opinion of the Bamangwato tribal leaders the attendance of the deputation might cause trouble or disorder and because the members of the proposed deputation had by their own act of removing themselves to the territory of another chief forfeited, under native law and custom their right to attend Bamangwato tribal meetings.

Subsequently, and in accordance with this decision, five of Tshekedi's followers from Rametsane who happened to be in the neighbourhood of Serowe on visits were advised by the Administration and tribal functionaries not to attend. Tshekedi and his followers in Rametsane later attended another kgotla which I held in the Bakwena Reserve in which they are now resident. I also had talks in Mafeking with Tshekedi and some of his followers from Rametsane.

96. Mr. John Hynd

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations how many times since his original exclusion from the Bamangwato Reserve of Bechuanaland has Tshekedi Khama re turned to the reserve; what has been his longest period of stay; and whether any disturbances have resulted from his presence.

Mr. Gordon-Walker

Since the original order of exclusion was served in accordance with the decisions set out in the White Paper (CMD. 7913) Tshekedi Khama has been given conditional permission to enter the Bamangwato Reserve several times. His longest visit to the Reserve lasted some weeks, of which he spent over half in the company of a district officer handing over to Seretse Khama the cattle which formed the latter's inheritance. I can let my hon. Friend have more precise information on these two points when I have heard from the High Commissioner. No disturbances directly resulted from his presence, in the Reserve on these visits. On each occasion, however, special precautions were taken by the Administration and police.

97. Mr. John Hynd

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations how many local councils have been established in Bechuanaland; how many of these are in the Bamangwato Reserve; and what is the composition of these councils.

Mr. Gordon-Walker

No local councils have yet been established in the Bamangwato Reserve or elsewhere in the Bechuanaland Protectorate. In accordance with the policy of His Majesty's Government laid down in the White Paper, steps are now being taken in the Bamangwato Reserve to introduce as speedily as circumstances permit more representative forms of local government based on indigenous institutions. His Majesty's Government's aim in the other native areas of the Protectorate is gradually to introduce more representative forms of local government centred round the chieftainship as a continuing institution; but this can only be achieved with the co-operation of the people and the chiefs.

98. Mr. John Hynd

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations under what legislation have powers been used to exclude Tshekedi Khama, a British-protected person, from the Bamangwato Reserve of Bechuanaland; and what opportunity is to be given him to answer publicly amongst his own people the charges made against him.

Mr. Gordon-Walker

The order excluding Tshekedi Khama from the Bamangwato Reserve was made under Section 3 of the Bechuanaland Protectorate Maintenance of Peace Proclamation, under which such an order may be made on its being shown to the satisfaction of the High Commissioner that there are reasonable grounds for believing that a person is dangerous to the peace of the Protectorate. The High Commissioner has a general responsibility for the maintenance of law and order in the Protectorate. Specific charges are not involved, and such a decision does not necessarily reflect any discredit on the person concerned.