- 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Rhodesia
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Thus nstitutionalised, the official emergency came to an end. It proscribed the Northern Rhodesian African National Congress and provided for the banning of additional organisations if their activities were deemed "likely" to disturb public order, "prejudice" the tranquility of the nation, endanger "constitutional government," or "promote feelings of ill will or hostility" between the races.
Furthermore, the UOA outlawed any organisation that was "controlled by or affiliated to or participates in the activities or promotes the objects or propagates the opinions of any organization outside the colony". The executive's banning of an organisation was "not open to question in any court of law," and the burden of proving that one was not a member of a banned organisation fell on the accused.
Attendance at a meeting or possession of books, writings, accounts, documents, banners, or insignia "relating to an unlawful organization" were prima facie evidence of membership "until the contrary is proved. Finally, the act provided for the complete indemnification of police and civil servants for actions connected with enforcing the measure. Between and , 1, Africans were prosecuted and 1, convicted under this law.
The act authorised the detention of persons "concerned," "associated," or "supporting" "any of the activities of any organization which led to the present state of emergency" and persons considered "potentially dangerous to public safety or public order. The act established a Review Tribunal—composed of a judge, a magistrate, and a Native Commissioner—to review annually the case of each detainee and recommend release or continued detention.
Tribunal proceedings were held in camera; deliberations depended heavily on the evidence of the police Special Branch; and the minister was not obliged to follow the tribunal's recommendations. The tribunal rarely advised the release of detainees, and its lack of objectivity was reflected in its general report on the emergency and detention exercise of , which completely whitewashed the regime's actions.
These provisions were widely seen as window dressing to provide legitimacy to the suspension of habeas corpus without any real Judicial Review. The Native Affairs Amendment Act, was introduced in to prohibit any "native" from making statements or acting in a way "likely to undermine the authority" of, or bring into "disrepute," governmental officials, chiefs, or headmen. The act abolished meetings of twelve or more "natives" without the permission of the Native Commissioner. Hence, the rural areas became much less accessible to black nationalist organizers.
1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Rhodesia
This act severely curtailed the freedom of speech of the majority and made many feel that they had no or very little lawful mechanism of havening their grievances addressed. Its goals included universal adult suffrage, higher wages, improvements in African housing and education, and abolition of the Land Apportionment Act and the Land Husbandry Act.
Like the ANC, the NDP had a rudimentary organisation, limited resources, and no access to the press; many of its would-be leaders remained behind bars. Given the far-reaching security restrictions passed in , the party's activities were bound within tight parameters. Organizing in rural areas was virtually impossible. In urban areas, however, it was attracting up to ten thousand people to its rallies, and by mid, it had over two hundred fifty thousand dues-paying members.
Intended to paralyse black opposition and prevent political violence, the state of emergency proved a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Unasylva - Vol. 15, No. 1 - Dry woodlands of Africa South of the Sahara
State repression deepened black alienation from the regime and suggested to some that peaceful political organising was a dead end. With the black leadership in detention, the political vacuum was filled by the more militantly inclined. In July and October large-scale demonstrations and rioting broke out in black townships. As a result of African impatience with the pace of reforms and then in opposition to increased repression new black political parties had formed.
They agitated both politically and violently sometimes resorting to sporadic acts of sabotage. From onwards, white settler politics consolidated and ossified around one issue — resistance to majority rule. The Constitution governed Southern Rhodesia, and later independent Rhodesia, up until It used the Westminster Parliamentary System modified by a system of separate voter rolls with differing property and education qualifications. The system ensured that whites had the majority of Assembly seats. It soundly rejected an accommodating solution and sharpened racial polarization. The black majority hoped that the British government would end white minority rule.
Against this background the government wanted to pursue independence to forestall black majority rule. Field's Cabinet colleagues, considered him too weak to give Britain an ultimatum on independence and put pressure on him to go. We were somewhat relieved that both the Southern Rhodesia and Northern Rhodesia Governments were willing to take over their own fair share of Federal liabilities and public debt, but they reserved their position as to how this could be assessed until the post-conference machinery had reported. I said, as chairman, and leader of the British delegation, that although the acceptance of Federal liabilities would impose a burden on the territories, many valuable assets would also pass to the territories; that the right approach to the whole question was to start from the connection between assets and liabilities and, in that way, to work out what the territories could bear.
To put it in very simple English, that means that if a hospital is transferred, the liability goes with the hospital. Similarly, with roads or other assets that may be transferred there is to be a working out of the assets and liabilities and then an assessment of what the territory can bear as a result of this complicated mechanism.
I therefore reserved the position of Her Majesty's Government by saying that when the time came the attitude of the British Government would have to be considered in the light of our general policies on overseas aid. The conference then agreed that the whole matter should be referred to a committee to be set up under the post-conference machinery. When I describe the terms of the Bill, I shall give a further indication of how we propose that that shall be done.
I think that I can safely say, however, that, considering the short time, some progress was made on this important matter. Another important chapter in the White Paper refers to the transfer of money and taxation functions. While we were at the Falls we set up a subcommittee of the conference to report on this, and to take account of an extremely able report by the Finance Minister of Northern Rhodesia.
The sub-committee reported, and the conference agreed, that the attention of the post-conference machinery should be directed to a scheme whereby the transfer of taxing powers to the territories should take place as early as possible, and it is set out in Scheme"B" on page 11 of the White Paper. I will summarise it as follows. It is that, as subjects were taken back by the territories, the Federal Government would hand over, either in a lump sum or in monthly instalments, the money required to carry on the services at the level previously determined.
Particular importance was attached to this by the territories, because they were particularly anxious to see the functions transferred from the Federation at the earliest date practicable, and had it not been for these provisions which we worked out during those few days it would not be possible to have both the money and the men necessary to run that function in the territories.
Therefore, this arrangement was, I think, a very satisfactory one, because it will enable transfers to take place without undue delay, and, therefore, meet the impatience on the part of the territories to achieve control of the functions that they think should rightly be transferred to them. I think that it was, perhaps, satisfactory that we were able to make so much progress at the Falls on the question of the future of the defence forces, not only from the point of view of the importance of the defence forces but also in order to give satisfaction to those serving in the forces to know what their future was likely to be—because one has only to be in Central Africa to realise the intense anxiety of every one as to their own future and the future of their own country.
I therefore summoned a meeting of heads of delegations, outside the conference, aided by the Minister of Defence of the Federation, Sir Malcolm Barrow—to whose co-operation I should like to pay a tribute—and we reached an agreement which the conference endorsed.
The conference agreed that when the Federal Government ceased to exercise responsibility for defence, the position in regard to the operation and control of forces should revert to that which obtained before , although the Federal forces would have to be partitioned between the three territories. It will initially simply be a question of transfer to two Commands—that is, to that of the Government of Southern Rhodesia and that of Her Majesty's Government in the Northern Territories.
The reason for that is quite clear. At the present time there is a Protectorate status, and therefore the command reverts to Her Majesty's Government in the Northern Territories while that status lasts. In most cases, units will passunder the control of either Southern Rhodesia or Britain according to their present dispositions, that is to say, according to where they are placed, and recruited, and so forth. There would be some agreed exceptions to this, which would be announced as soon as possible.
Arrangements would also have to be worked out to permit members of the forces to declare in which territory they wished to serve in future. That was included by agreement of all Governments to give satisfaction and confidence to the members of the forces themselves. The physical assets of the forces will, in general, remain with their present units, although the value of the assets will fall to be dealt with in the general agreement, to which I have earlier referred, for the apportionment of Federal assets and liabilities, including the public debt.
I think that this was a satisfactory arrangement. It means that those normally connected with Northern Rhodesia will go back to Northern Rhodesia; that the battalion recruited in Nyasaland will go back to Nyasaland, and that the other portion of the defence force and air force will accrue to Southern Rhodesia.
It was agreed that we should not submit this matter to the post-conference machinery; that it was so important that future consultation should be between the Governments concerned. All this is referred to in the Bill, and I think that all this is apposite in dealing with the Bill. I will now give a short description of what we decided about citizenship, to which the inhabitants out there attach particular importance.
It was agreed, again by a sub-committee working outside the conference, that when the Federation was dissolved, Federal citizens—who are, of course, British subjects—ought not to lose that status. A separate citizenship for each of the territories would eventually be created, and there should be agreement on a scheme under which a Federal citizen would, by law, become a citizen of the territory to which he belongs, subject to his being given an option, in suitable cases, to choose the territory whose citizenship he prefers.
This took us a certain way and further discussions will have to continue now about the establishment of the citizenship of each individual territory. Judging by my years of experience of this at the Home Office I think that it will take a little time to work out. As for the Federal Supreme Court , the judiciary, the conference noted that it will come to an end with the dissolution of the Federation and we agreed that the territorial Governments should themselves consider the question of a new Court of Appeal.
I repeat what I said earlier, that we could not expect on any of these difficult subjects to reach final conclusions in so short a time, but I feel quite convinced that the scope of the White Paper, which covers a great many subjects, and the conference discussions themselves will be of considerable value to those who will be responsible for carrying forward the work of the conference. Even on matters where only a partial understanding has so far been reached, the conference succeeded in focusing those issues of special complexity or difficulty to which the machinery will have to direct its attention.
I do not wish to detain the House by considering the machinery in detail. That is set out at the beginning of the White Paper. It is summarised by saying that there should be a joint committee with powers of general supervision and that that committee should have powers to set up inquiries and sub-committees on the public services, the assets and the liabilities and the debt, and that there should be a second sub-committee to deal with the vital question of future collaboration between the territories themselves.
As for the manning of these committees, I am in contact with the other Governments concerned, but I am glad to give the House the immediate information that there will be no delay in getting the work started. Sir George Curtis , who attended the conference and who has been chairman of the Nyasaland working Party, is now engaged in Salisbury in setting in motion the machinery agreed upon by the conference.
I hope, in particular, that the special sub-committee on the public service will be starting work early next week. The United Kingdom representative will be travelling to Salisbury for this purpose on Monday. I should like now to stress, as I warned the House, the constructive step taken by the conference in setting up the special committee referred to on page 5 of the White Paper to deal with what are known as links between the territories in the future. Members will see from Chapter V that I stressed to the conference in the following words: …that it was the United Kingdom's declared policy to seek to assist in the evolution of effective new forms of collaboration between the territories when the Federation came to an end, forms which would be acceptable to each of them and help to preserve and promote, in particular, the economic prosperity of all.
I therefore feel special satisfaction that provision should have been madeby the conference to enable questions of inter-territorial co-operation to be further studied by representatives of the territorial Governments assisted by Federal officials under United Kingdom chairmanship. In the conference, the Federal delegation agreed that future collaboration was a matter for the territorial Governments. It will be noted by hon. Members who have read the White Paper, and this is on page 10, that the Northern Rhodesian delegation accepted in principle that there should be inter-territorial collaboration in regard to the railways, Kariba and Central African Airways , and recognised the possible need for interim joint arrangements in such matters as currency.
The Southern Rhodesia delegation welcomed this, but expressed the hope that collaboration with the Northern Rhodesia Government might go beyond the subjects mentioned. Thus we have so far agreed in a short time that there is a lot of constructive work which I hope will be done in this field and a lot of initiative must be left both by the House and Her Majesty's Government to the two Governments getting together.
I therefore welcomed the opportunity given by the conference for the two Government leaders to get together, as they did. That was one of the valuable features of the conference itself. To sum up the White Paper and the conference which leads to the dissolution of the Federation, I should like to make it quite clear to the House that the conference concerned itself not only with dissolution, but with constructive attitudes towards the future of the three territories involved.
I should like to turn for a few minutes only, as the Bill is somewhat detailed, to the detailed provisions of this Measure, as is suitable on Second Reading according to the classical form of a Second Reading speech. Perhaps I ought to say that I took the opportunity during my visit to discuss the provisions of the Bill with the Governments there. We had some detailed discussions about its provision. I am grateful to the Governments for the helpful comments and assistance which they generously gave. While I cannot mention all the points, because some of them are highly legal, and there is no lack of legal ability in the Central African Federation at present, I think that we have succeeded in meeting most of the points put forward by the Governments concerned.
Clause 1 1 is a general provision enabling Her Majesty, by Order, to provide for the dissolution of the Federation and the distribution of Federal functions to the territories. It also enables the making of …such incidental, supplemental and consequential provisions as appear necessary or expedient for the purposes of the Order. In Clause 1 2 the meaning of the terms"incidental, supplemental and consequential" is illustrated. The subsection sets out a number of matters for which such provisions may be made and I should like to mention them in turn.
Clause 1 2, a covers the making of provisions by Order in Council with regard to Federal assets and liabilities, including the public debt. I referred to that in my opening remarks about the White Paper. I need only stress here that a great deal of hard and complicated work will have to be done and the conference agreed that a special sub-committee would have to tackle this in the light of our discussions and make recommendations on how to deal with it. To those who study the question in detail, I would say that the question of an apportionment commission for apportioning the debt has been left open for the post-conference machinery to recommend appropriate terms of reference if it considers that such a commission is required.
Clause 1 2, b enables provision to be made as necessary for members of the public services of the Federation. I have fully described their needs in my opening remarks. I should only like to add that, as the Report of the conference makes clear, members of the Armed Forces and the judiciary as well as parliamentary officers, whose plight we heard about at the conference—for example, the officers of the Federal Assembly whom we have to consider because after 31st December their Assembly will come to an end—and employees of statutory bodies will be included in this consideration.
Clause 1 2, c is self-explanatory. It deals with matters pending before the Federal courts and tribunals at the time of the dissolution. Clause 1 2, d arises because until a Federal function has been transferred to a territorial Government that Government has no authority to legislate in that field. If no arrangements were made to deal with this situation a territorial Government could find itself responsible, for example, for health and prisons but lacking in legislation under which to operate those services.
That provision is, therefore, included in the Bill. Clause 1 2, d enables provision to be made by Order in Council for the continuance, under certain circumstances, of Federal law, and the following words are included: subject…to the powers of the authority having power to legislate for the Territory after dissolution…". The territories attach importance to those words. In other words, it will be open to a territorial Government to pass their own legislation as soon as they wish, or are in a position to do so.
Paragraph d also makes it possible for the Order to empower a territorial Government to modify or adapt Federal legislation for their own use following dissolution. Paragraph e enables provision to be made for the modification or adaptation of any Act of Parliament or instrument having effect there under. To make quite clear the limited purpose of this provision, it is expressly provided that this section shall not authorise the amendment of the constitution of any of the Territories. This assurance was especially sought by the Government of Southern Rhodesia. The House will observe that Clause 1 2 concludes, in lines 25 to 31 on page 2 of the Bill, with certain provisions concerned with institutions or bodies which may be constituted jointly for all or any two of the territories.
This refers to what I have been speaking of—inter-governmental collaboration. This part of the Bill envisages a situation in which all or any two of the territories might agree to set up a joint body or institution to operate, for example, a particular common service on their behalf, it might be in the realm of power. It might be thought expedient that provision should be made by Order for the exercise by such a body or institution of those functions which the territory had agreed.
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It is not possible, under these powers, to impose any body or institution upon the territorial Governments. Whether or not it were established would have to be a matter of agreement between them. Nor, if the territories decided that they wished to do so, would any steps be taken under an Order in Council unless the territories were agreed that this was what they wanted done. That is a useful provision, but it depends upon territorial agreement.
Clause 1 3 enables provision to be made for any matter covered by Clause 1 2 as from such time before the dissolution as may be specified in the Order.
What this means is that we do not envisage waiting for the actual date of dissolution before any action is taken to return Federal functions to territorial responsibility. That is what I was saying earlier in my opening remarks. Indeed, the conference agreed that wherever it might be practicable arrangements could be made for the transfer of such services to the territories in advance of dissolution.
As I said earlier, if that did happen satisfactory arrangements would have to be made in regard to both the money which is referred to in the White Paper under"Transfer of Money and Taxation Functions" and in regard to the men needed to man these services. We now come to Clause 1 4 , which enables provision to be made for a territory to withdraw from the Federation in advance of dissolution and for the powers which I have described relating to the dissolution of the Federation to be applied in that situation. The House will remember that Her Majesty's Government had accepted that, if a territory desired to withdraw from the Federation, it must be allowed to do so.
Both Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland had expressed their desire to withdraw, and in the case of Nyasaland arrangements to this end were already well advanced when we met at Victoria Falls. However, the Nyasaland working party, under Sir George Curtis, which had been charged with the responsibility for working out these arrangements, was operating on the basis that Nyasaland was to be detached from a continuing Federation; so there was a slight change here because it had become clear that the Federation itself was to come to an end.
Therefore, it was becoming increasingly unreal and difficult for the Nyasaland working party to continue its work on the original assumption. In those circumstances, the conference agreed that I should seek the agreement of the Nyasaland Government to associate themselves with the general dissolution machinery which was to be established. I am glad to inform the House that the Nyasaland Government, given the target date of 31st December, , for the dissolution of the Federation, have now agreed to co-operate in this machinery.
This is, I think, very satisfactory, because it means that all the operation can now be handled in one piece without necessarily having recourse to the provisions of Clause 1 4 , which I have been describing. This, I am sure, is the most orderly and expeditious way of proceeding and will be to the advantage of all three territories.
I now only have to refer to Clause 2 2 , which will interest the House because it implies the control which the House will have. We have thought it right—and I am sure that the House will agree—that any Order in Council under this Measure, dealing as it will with matters of the highest importance, should be subject to affirmative Resolution. That brings me to an end of the provisions of the Bill, and I have only a few words to say in summing up the position before I conclude. The House will perhaps feel that it is, on the whole—one should not exaggerate language—satisfactory that the dissolution of the Federation can be achieved by agreement.
I hesitated some months ago to envisage the difficulties which would have arisen had we not been able to attempt this by agreement. As I have said, the achievements of the Federation are there for all to see, and I am sure that we should wish, before I conclude, again to pay tribute to those who made them possible. Nevertheless, the political facts of Central Africa remain, and it would have been foolish, and it would be foolish now, to pretend that they can be ignored.
During recent months they have presented Her Majesty's Government with a grave burden of responsibility and I welcome this opportunity of affirming that we have discharged this burden seriously and, I believe, in a straightforward way and in the best possible way open to us, whatever doubts may have been cast on our motives. Now we must look to the future, for the ending of Federation marks only the end of a chapter in Central Africa, and if we work wisely together in the months ahead the rest of the story can be one of progress in things both material and spiritual.
The resources of Central Africa, both human and physical, are very great. We must now seek to create the conditions in which their potential can be fully and freely realised. We must, therefore, work to ensure that the three territories which have hitherto been joined together in the Federation are enabled successfully to pursue their separate progress while maintaining those links which are conducive to the continued material well-being of their peoples. Our aim must be to advance these territories on the road to full nationhood so that, in collaboration, they can enjoy their own individual existence as well as the economic advantages of Federation, but without the political frictions which it has recently brought in its train.
Of course, in striving for this we have to recognise—and this is the last warning I want to give the House—that there are still problems in the territorial sphere which have to be surmounted, and I did not want to conclude my speech without leaving this thought with the House. In Northern Rhodesia, there are stresses within the coalition of the two African parties, and there is mounting pressure for progress through a new self-governing constitution. I have assured the elected Ministers, whom I met on my last day at the Falls, that Her Majesty's Government wish that there shall be no unnecessary delay in proceeding to the next constitutional stage.
The Governor is immediately to meet the parties and the Opposition —because, in creating a new constitution, it is important, as I informed the Ministers, to bring in the Opposition—and he will present to me a report of what they say. Judging by this report, Her Majesty's Government will decide what is the best action to take regarding the future of these matters in Northern Rhodesia. Before my right hon. Friend leaves the subject of Northern Rhodesia, will he say something about Barotseland?
I can reply at once to my hon. Friend by saying that the Litunga of Barotseland is to arrive in London on Monday with his advisers to confer with me during next week. I would rather not expand upon this, although, if any hon. Members wish to make constructive suggestions before the talks next week, I shall be only too glad to hear what they have to say. I shall be spending the greater part of next week in the company of the Litunga and his advisers. In Nyasaland, recent incidents, although the reports may have been somewhat exaggerated, have given rise to considerable anxiety.
I can, however, assure the House—I have given Answers to Questions today which will be in the hands of hon. Members this afternoon—that law and order is being maintained there and that the Government of the territory and Her Majesty's Government are determined to see that it continues to be maintained. Let us, then, look for peaceful progress in the territorial sphere. It will help to secure that if we now see to it that the dissolution of the Federation is carried through promptly, equitably and in an orderly manner and that it is succeeded by as close an association as possible between the territories.
That, I know, is the wish of all the Governments. By fixing our target date, 31st December, we have set ourselves a very difficult task. I feel confident, however, that in this work we can count on the same spirit of practical working together which was so evident at the Victoria Falls conference. Given this, I am sure that, despite the many complex problems still to be resolved, we can and shall achieve our objectives in both the short and the long term.
The Bill provides the necessary legal framework for our labours in the coming months and, as such, I commend it to the House. My right hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, West, Mr. Strachey , who was to have led for us on this side of the House, cannot, unfortunately, be present. The other day, quite rightly, he congratulated the First Secretary on his timely success at the conference at Victoria Falls to consider the future of the Central African Federation.
We can all agree this afternoon that the right hon. Gentleman has created the right spirit. Good will operated at the conference, and we can only hope that it will continue. But my right hon. Friend did say that the conference was the easier part of the problem. The more difficult part, the future of Southern Rhodesia, lies ahead. We have no cause for jubilation today. The hope of the world lies in the unity of nations, and anything which brings about the fragmentation of territories is a retrograde step. But, if nations are to federate, they must do so willingly and in a spirit of co-operation.
This might have been possible in the Federation if it had not been for the bungling of the Conservative Government. The First Secretary of State must accept his share of the responsibility for this. The Africans willingly attended the first conference, and preparations were made for further discussions. Is it not within the right hon. Gentleman's recollection that there was no African present representing Southern Rhodesia at the Victoria Falls conference, and is it not within his recollection that the two right hon. Members who visited the three territories received overwhelming evidence of opposition on the part of the Africans at that time?
It may be that, at the beginning, there were some objections, but, after explanations—I repeat—those who were able willingly came to the conference. I shall have something to say about Southern Rhodesia. That is an unfortunate incident and, perhaps, we can deal with it in general debate, when we talk about the actions of the Southern Rhodesian Government not only then, but today.
I repeat that they subsequently came to the conference willingly and took part. They were ready to come for further discussions. On the part of the Government of that day there was certainly no intention to push through federation without African co-operation. There was then a change of Government here and, in , the Conservative Government, in spite of the Africans not coming to the conference and not co-operating, pushed through legislation and brought about the Federation. In those circumstances, it was inevitable that we should have the situation which is presented to us today, with the Federation itself coming to an end.
Last March , when, as a concession to Northern Rhodesia, permission was given for any of the three territories of the original Federation to secede, the Federation virtually came to an end. Nyasaland had had the right to secede granted. There was an African majority in the Government of Northern Rhodesia who had no wish to continue to participate in the Federation. For his part, Mr. This left the Federal Prime Minister , Sir Roy Welensky , supported by a few back-bench Members of this House and some Members of the other place , to keep up the fight for the Federation.
I do not know whether we shall hear anything from hon. Members today about this. Possibly, Lord Poole has said"Keep quiet" in order to avoid further disarray in the Conservative Party. Anyhow, one can feel sympathy for Sir Roy Welensky. He had a right to be furious with right hon. Gentlemen opposite. To use his own words, he said that the British Government had ratted on him and that they had been guilty of an act of treachery.
The reason for his anger, he declared, was that he had been given by successive Secretaries of State for Commonwealth Relations and for the Colonies an assurance that the declaration made in the Report of the conference on the Federation that no change would be made in the division of power among the three territories for ten years except with the consent of all five parties would be upheld. All I can say is that Sir Roy had greater faith in the Tories than we have. With Nyasaland already well on the way to independence as a result of the constitutional conference conferring internal self-government last November, and with the African Government of Northern Rhodesia determined to implement the breakaway from the Federation before the year was out, Southern Rhodesia's future had become the crucial problem arising out of the break-up of the Federation.
There are , Europeans in Southern Rhodesia, representing the largest white population in British Africa. It was not until that even a very limited concession was made to the Africans, and this concession was bought very dearly.
Zimbabwe: Self-government and Federation (1923 - 1963)
By agreeing to about 1 per cent. Of Africans being allowed to vote, the British Government lost all rights to intervene in Southern Rhodesian affairs on behalf of the Africans. The Africans , however, appealed to the United Nations and there was overwhelming support for African majority rule in Southern Rhodesia. What did Her Majesty's Government do? They stood alone, supported only by South Africa. The Europeans in Southern Rhodesia have been trying desperately to retain their ascendancy.
Since , it has been impossible for any African opinion to find legitimate expression. Each African organisation has been completely put down. I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman would not wish to mislead the House. Surely he understands that the reason these parties have been banned is that they have deliberately overthrown the idea of fighting constitutionally and have indulged in violence and terrorism.
Surely this is quite different from attempting to fight constitutionally, which was within their power if they had been prepared to do so. They are deprived of such powers by the Constitution. They have no constitutional rights. This prevented any kind of organisation from expressing genuine African opinion. Then, when we had a change of Government and Mr. Field's Right-wing Rhodesian Front came to power in December, , further repressive legislation was introduced. The death penalty was made mandatory for anyone convicted of arson or of throwing petrol bombs, and provision was made for heavy penalties for anyone organising any group with a view to overthrowing or attempting to overthrow the Government by unconstitutional means.
This legislation would apply to all Africans in exile, whatever expressions they might make about their own liberties and rights. The bitter irony is that the present Constitution prevents the African majority from expressing its demands by constitutional methods. I said in the House on 24th April that the British Government must resist any demands to grant independence to Southern Rhodesia before constitutional changes are made which would enable all members of all races to be democratically elected in the Government of the territory.
On 18th June, my right hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, West was told by the First Secretary that he would maintain his position on the broadening of the franchise in Southern Rhodesia. We still wish to be assured that there is no suggestion of granting independence to Southern Rhodesia until substantial progress is made towards meeting African aspirations.
Could the right hon. Gentleman define"substantial progress" from the point of view of his own party? In other words, if the Labour Party were in power, what conditions would it need before giving Southern Rhodesia independence? With regard to the independence of Southern Rhodesia and Northern Rhodesia's future, two main problems were discussed at informal conferences outside the official business of the conference at Victoria Falls. Agreement was reached on the future of Northern Rhodesia between the two African leaders, Mr. Kaunda and Mr. Nkumbula The First Secretary also agreed that there was a need for a new constitution—he mentioned this this afternoon—providing for internal self-government as soon as possible.
I accept the assurance of the First Secretary that when he says"as soon as possible" he means it. I do not know whether it is possible for him to name a date by which it ought to be reached. I realise the difficulties to which the First Secretary referred. Indeed, there is a ministerial committee, made up of members of both the United National Independence Party and the African National Congress , which drafted a new constitution providing for an enlarged legislative assembly elected on the basis of universal franchise.
There are, however, two obstacles which have to be overcome. The first is that the heavy rains which occur between November and March will make it very difficult for electioneering. In spite of the demands of Mr. Kaunda's party, U. It would also be very difficult to prepare for universal suffrage before that time.
The second obstacle is that if there were a general election it would probably reduce the already small representation of Mr. Nkumbula's party. In any case, this party is, to some extent, supported by votes from the U. Therefore, it is not too obvious that he wants elections at an early date. There is considerable hostility between the rank and file of the two parties which results in outbreaks of violence and disruption.
The coalition of the two parties is precarious and further difficulties may cause it to break up. However, I join the First Secretary in the hope that Northern Rhodesia will overcome these initial difficulties and will settle down to face the real problems which will be her concern when independence has been fully achieved. As the First Secretary said, as a result of the conference at Victoria Falls, two main committees have been appointed to carry out the task of dismantling the Federation: one for dissolving the Federation and the other for considering inter-territorial questions, particularly economic links.
The committee for dissolving the Federation will work out the detailed arrangements for the reversion of federal powers to the three territories. The first stage in all this is the Bill before us. This gives powers to Her Majesty's Government to make provision for the dissolution of the Federation by Order in Council. In doing this, they have agreed that decisions must be reached on the apportionment and transfer of property, rights, liabilities, powers or duties of the Federation or the Government or Legislature of the Federation; the smooth transition of the public and other services of the Federation to ensure their successful working; on matters pending before the courts and tribunals of the Federation; and, finally, the modification or adaptation of the existing law in force in the territories of the Federation.
As the First Secretary said, this is an enabling Bill, and it is provided in Clause 2 that the Order shall be subject to affirmative Resolutions if made after 1st August, , and to the possibility of annulment by either House retrospectively if made before 1st October, This will allow the arrangements to go ahead during the Summer Recess. Nevertheless, I think that it is, in principle, unsatisfactory that Parliament may be deprived of the chance to amend the terms of the Order before it is made. The Government had, of course, to encourage Mr. Winston Field to come to the conference and this caused some delay.
But it should not pass unnoticed that the result is an inconvenience to Parliament and an undemocratic procedure. I am not suggesting that it is not in order to use an enabling Measure and an Order in Council. Nevertheless, I think that we should all agree that, whenever possible, legislation should be passed by an Act of Parliament and not by an Order. It is unsatisfactory, in particular, that Parliament should allow delegated legislation , even if it is subject to the House's approval, to amend Acts of Parliament.
This is done in Clause 1 2, e. The present circumstances make it reasonably safe to do so because what will be done will be by agreement with all the Governments concerned. But there are occasions when it can lead to abuse or to the passage of legislation on false assumptions. Member for Essex, South-East Mr.
Braine , speaking for the Government, explained the Clause proposing the granting to Southern Rhodesia of power to make legislation having extra-territorial effect by instancing the anomaly that a Southern Rhodesian abroad could perjure himself in an affidavit for use in Southern Rhodesia and not be punished for it. The subsequent Order in Council based on the Act did not only correct this small anomaly but gave general power to make extra-territorial legislation. Consequently, there are features in the recent legislation of Southern Rhodesia which could not have been made but for this provision, and which are very unjust.
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For instance, people can be punished for statements made outside Southern Rhodesia likely to engender hostility between sections of the population". We on this side of the House will support the Bill. In doing so, we express the hope that the main committee composed of officials representing Her Majesty's Government, the Southern Rhodesia and Northern Rhodesia Governments, with the assistance of Federal officials, will be able to retain and strengthen the inter-territorial links. The retention of the economic links, and the development of common services can bring great benefits to all people in the territories.
The key to the success of this part of the agreement reached at Victoria Falls lies with Southern Rhodesia. I hope that it will be made clear that Mr. Winston Field's demand for independence at the same time that independence is granted to Northern Rhodesia cannot be met in present circumstances. This is the Labour Party point of view. If Her Majesty's Government are foolish enough to concede this, which, as I recognise, many hon.
Members opposite would do and which was at the back of the mind of the hon. Member for Haltemprice Mr. Wall , who interrupted me, it is clear that there will be no hope of Southern Rhodesia becoming an independent country of the Commonwealth, let alone the United Nations , and I think that this would be a bad thing. Alternatively, the Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia may say that when Northern Rhodesia gets independence he will carry on as at present with de facto independence, hoping that in time this will help him. We have to recognise that this will not solve anything, and I doubt whether the Southern Rhodesian Prime Minister would be able to get support for this policy in his own country.
A further possibility is that the Southern Rhodesian Government would declare themselves an independent country without seeking to join the Commonwealth or the United Nations. Shibboleth OpenAthens. Restore content access Restore content access for purchases made as guest. Article Purchase - Online Checkout. Issue Purchase - Online Checkout.
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