Zambia African National Congress

Oral Answers to Questions — Northern Rhodesia – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 9th April 1959.

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Photo of Mr Fenner Brockway Mr Fenner Brockway , Eton and Slough 12:00 am, 9th April 1959

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what subsistence allowances are given to the officials and members of the Zambia African Congress who have been rusticated in Northern Rhodesia; whether they are provided with beds and mattresses; and what utensils for their meals they are permitted.

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

Three shillings to 5s. a day, depending on the price levels from place to place. If a special diet is necessary for health reasons the allowance is increased as required. Families of restricted persons receive an allowance of 5s. to 10s. a day. The issue of beds and mattresses has been authorized. A free issue of utensils for meals has been authorized where the restricted persons were unable to take a reasonable quantity with them.

Photo of Mr Fenner Brockway Mr Fenner Brockway , Eton and Slough

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that I have a letter from one of those detainees describing the 5s. allowance as not even permitting him to have breakfast? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this detainee has been denied a bed and mattress and has to sleep on a prison mat and is still without a cup and saucer?

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

I should like to see that letter to check up on it before I make any comment on its veracity.

Photo of Mr Stephen Swingler Mr Stephen Swingler , Newcastle-under-Lyme

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies on what evidence the Zambia African Congress in Northern Rhodesia was declared an unlawful association; when the Congress members who have been rusticated will be brought to trial; and what facilities for legal aid and advice they are receiving.

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

Evidence was available to the Governor-in-Council that registered branches and headquarters of the Zambia African National Congress were being used for purposes prejudicial to and incompatible with the maintenance of peace, order and good government. Some of the Zambia leaders have already been brought to trial. The question of bringing any others who were members of Zambia to trial on any specific charges is one for the Attorney-General of Northern Rhodesia. If any are brought to trial normal facilities for legal aid will be granted.

Photo of Mr Stephen Swingler Mr Stephen Swingler , Newcastle-under-Lyme

These charges are remarkably similar to those made in Nyasaland, on which a commission of inquiry is now sitting. Will there be a commission of inquiry, or investigation, into the allegations against the Zambia Congress? Did not the right hon. Gentleman receive a telegram from the President of the Zambia Congress, Mr. Kenneth Kaunda, on 19th February, giving an assurance that the Zambia Congress was opposed to violence, but that it was opposed to the present constitutional arrangements? Is the right hon. Gentleman saying that it is unlawful for the Congress to oppose the constitutional arrangements in a legitimate way? Will he ensure that all those against whom allegations have been made will have a chance of answering those allegations?

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

I have nothing to add to what I have said before. The proscription of this organization has been greeted by Africans as a whole with widespread relief.

Photo of Sir Archer Baldwin Sir Archer Baldwin , Leominster

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the Zambia Congress is a splinter group of extremists broken away from the main body? Is he aware that the great majority of Africans are only too delighted to think that this body has been done away with and that they will be free from intimidation?

Photo of Mr John Stonehouse Mr John Stonehouse , Wednesbury

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a few weeks ago I spoke to the leaders of this organization and was assured by them that on no account—[Laughter] —

Photo of Mr John Stonehouse Mr John Stonehouse , Wednesbury

—would they resort to violence, although they were opposed to the constitution, and that there was in fact no instance of violence before the arrests occurred? In view of that, will the Colonial Secretary enable those who have been detained to reply to the allegations made against them?

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

I am afraid that I am no more reassured now than I was five minutes ago.