§ 89. Mr. J. Johnson
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what measures are being taken by the Governments of Uganda, Tanganyika, Kenya, Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland to educate the African population in the meaning and procedure of elections.
§ Mr. Profumo
The information, which varies from territory to territory, is as follows:
The first direct African elections to Legislative Council will take place in March and extensive explanations about their meaning and the procedure involved in registration and voting have been carried on in every district since well before registration began on 14th August. Special articles have been published in the vernacular news-sheets; broadcasts have been made by Ministers and leading Africans; 300,600 booklets in the vernaculars and over 30,000 posters have been distributed; a film was made with vernacular commentaries and shown in all areas; and everywhere administrative officers have spoken to tribal gatherings.
The meaning of elections is taught in civics lessons at secondary schools, in talks arranged by the Extra-mural Department of Makerere College, and in general talks to courses of all kinds at the Community Development Training Centre in Entebbe. For many years Africans have been gaining practical experience in elections to local government bodies, some of which are directly elected.184W
The subject of elections forms part of the general instruction in civics given in secondary schools and at the Local Government Training School.
Elections in various forms for local government purposes in rural areas have been progressively introduced over the past few years and are now reasonably well understood within this limited framework.
Local government elections are expected to take place in some urban areas this year and an explanatory pamphlet on procedure is being prepared in Swahili for general issue.
It is contemplated that elections to representative seats in the Legislative Council will take place in some constituencies in 1958 and special methods are being devised to ensure full explanation of the nature and procedure for these elections to the African population.
In urban areas district commissioners have given elementary instruction in the procedure for elections to urban advisory councils and area housing boards, election by secret ballot has been explained and followed in elections from urban advisory councils to provincial councils, from provincial councils to the African Representative Council, and from that Council to the Legislative Council.
In rural areas customary native methods of selection prevail; but in the Barotse Protectorate instruction has been given by district commissioners in election methods. This instruction has been put into practice in elections to the Katengo Council, an advisory council composed almost entirely of commoners.
Elections of African members of the Legislative Council are conducted by secret ballot in the provincial councils, and the procedure and system are fully explained to and understood by the participants.
The Governments of both Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland have clearly in mind that any new system of election by Africans would need to be preceded by intensive education to ensure that it was fully understood before it was used.