Northern Rhodesia (District Commissioners' Powers)

Oral Answers to Questions — Central Africa – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 8th December 1954.

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Photo of Sir Leslie Plummer Sir Leslie Plummer , Deptford 12:00 am, 8th December 1954

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies to what extent District Commissioners in Northern Rhodesia have authority to issue orders with the force of law in their administrative areas, irrespective of endorsement by the local chiefs.

Photo of Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd , Mid Bedfordshire

District Commissioners have wide powers to issue lawful orders, not requiring endorsement by local chiefs, under many ordinances, including powers, as magistrates, to issue court orders. I assume, however, that the hon. Member has in mind orders made under the Native Authority Ordinance. A District Commissioner has no authority to issue orders with force of law under that Ordinance without endorsement by the local chief, except in an emergency in which the Governor has, under the Ordinance, ordered him to assume the powers of the native authority.

Photo of Sir Leslie Plummer Sir Leslie Plummer , Deptford

May I assume from that answer that the Minister is adhering to the policy of indirect rule?

Photo of Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd , Mid Bedfordshire

I think that there is a great deal to be said for that policy, but I am not quite certain of all the implications of the hon. Member's question.