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Uganda (Disturbances)

Volume 464: debated on Wednesday 4 May 1949

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has any statement to make concerning recent disturbances in Uganda; and what steps are being taken.


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement on the riots in Uganda and the steps being taken to deal with the situation there.

Disturbances broke out in Kampala on 25th April with attacks on Buganda Government chiefs and workers. Prompt action was taken by the police and military and the situation is now quiet. Five rioters were shot dead, three while attacking the police, one in self-defence by an African, and one in circumstances now being investigated. The Governor has appointed a Commissioner to inquire into and report upon the original causes and development of the disturbances, and the measures taken by the Government to deal with them.

Can the Minister give any indication of the number of organisations and the proportion of the African community which they represent who were involved in initiating these disturbances?

I have some information, but I would rather not make any statement on that sort of issue while this Commission is pending.

Pending the report of the Commission, could not the Under-Secretary at least indicate what were the circumstances which gave rise to this very grave occurrence? Surely, there must be some kind of information on that point.

I would rather not make any statement until the matter has been investigated.

Is not the primary cause of these disturbances the fact that these people have been treated as aliens in their own native land?


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what reply he has made to Mr. Semakula Mulumba, the London representative of the Bataka people in Uganda, who protested to him against the use of British troops against African demonstrators; and whether he will make a statement on the situation in Kampala, Uganda.

For reasons which he made clear in reply to a Question on 3rd November last, my right hon. Friend is not disposed to accept seriously Mr. Mulumba's views on affairs in Uganda. No reply has been sent to his communications about the recent disturbances which are now the subject of a Commission of Inquiry. I have already given an account of the situation in Uganda in reply to my hon. Friends the Members for Attercliffe (Mr. J. Hynd) and Leyton, West (Mr. Sorensen).

As the hon. Gentleman has not given an answer to the earlier Question, will he now take the opportunity of explaining what exactly happened, at least in the light of the report that he has received from the Governor without necessarily waiting for the Commission's findings?

I have said what happened. I said that an inquiry was being made into the causes and also into whether the right action was taken by the Government.

Can the hon. Gentleman say whether the Governor of Uganda had previously taken any action with regard to "Labour Monthly"?

Are we to understand from the Under-Secretary's reply that he has no definite information until the Commission reports? Are we, therefore, to infer that the Governor is not prepared to make a statement because, perhaps, the Governor himself was involved in certain matters of which he is ashamed?

It is clearly out of Order to make inferences of that kind and accuse the Governor of being implemented. The hon. Gentleman is very wrong.

Mr. Speaker, the officer referred to is His Majesty's representative in the Colony concerned. If the remark is out of Order, should not the hon. Member be asked to withdraw it?

I thought I gave the hon. Member a strong enough reproof. I could not have made it much stronger without asking the hon. Member himself to withdraw.

Further to that point of Order, Mr. Speaker. As you have not ordered me to withdraw, I have no intention of withdrawing, for this reason—

That makes it worse. I did not order the hon. Member to withdraw, but when the hon. Member says "I have no intention of withdrawing" that makes it much worse. I am afraid that now I must order the hon. Member to withdraw.

I do not wish in any way to dispute with, or to reflect upon, the Chair. I respect your Ruling, Mr. Speaker, but I do want to say this: If the last statement which I made reflects on the Chair, then I withdraw it. With regard to the earlier statement, may I take this opportunity of explaining that I am reluctant to make statements of that kind in this House, and I have not made many, but it was the Under-Secretary's earlier reply that five people had been killed in this particular occurrence that caused me to make that statement. I am sorry to have offended the Chair.

What the hon. Member has said was a reflection. He said that the Governor had been implicated in riots and disturbances, and that was wholly improper. I thought I was being very moderate in not calling upon the hon. Member to withdraw. As he did not respond of his own accord, I now feel obliged to tell him that he must withdraw. I really must insist upon that.

In deference to yourself and to the honour of the Chair in this House, I withdraw.