Statement By The Governor

(This is the statement referred to in Article 43 of the Agreed Recommendations of the Namirembe Conference)

1. The Secretary of State for the Colonies on behalf of H.M. Government stated in the House of Commons on the 23rd February, 1954, that "the long-term aim of H.M. Government is to build the Protectorate into a self-governing state" and that "when self-government is achieved the government of the country will be mainly in the hands of Africans." He also stated that "when the time for self-government eventually comes H.M. Government will wish to be satisfied that the rights of the minority communities resident in Uganda are properly safeguarded in the constitution, but this will not detract from the primarily African character of the country."

2. In accordance with this statement of policy the ultimate aim of constitutional development in Uganda is a responsible Government answerable to an elected Legislature of the whole Protectorate, with proper safeguards in the constitution for the rights of the minority communities resident in Uganda. As an immediate stop towards this eventual aim I propose to make certain recommendations to the Secretary of State.

3. I am anxious that members of the public should be more closely associated than they are at present in the formation and execution of policy. Not only is this desired by many members of the public; I am convinced that by bringing the Government closer to the people such a step would promote the orderly and smooth progress of the country.

4. I accordingly propose to make the following recommendations to the Secretary of State:

(1) A Ministerial system should be introduced.

(2) Seven members of the public, of whom five would be Africans, should be invited to join the Government and to sit on the Government side of the Legislative Council.

(3) Of these seven persons joining the Government, five, of whom three would be Africans, would be members of the Executive Council with the status of Ministers. Of these five Ministers, two -one African and one other- would have full executive responsibility under the Governor for groups of departments; one, an African, while he would be a full member of the Executive Council, would be an Assistant Minister dealing under the Minister concerned with the large portfolio of Social Services covering Education, Health, African Housing and Labour; while the other two would not have executive responsibility, but would, I should hope, concern themselves with particular spheres of Government activity. In addition there would be two African Parliamentary Under-Secretaries.

(4) The selection of these Ministers and Parliamentary Under-Secretaries and the allocation of responsibilities to them would be in the Governor's discretion. He would choose them, on grounds of merit, either from the representative side of the Legislative Council, at which he should, I suggest, look particularly, or from the cross-bench or from outside the Council.

(5) There would be nine official members of the Executive Council, as against ten at present, of whom six or seven would have Ministerial status. All these six or seven other than the Attorney General, who is the Government's principal Legal Adviser, would have executive responsibility for departments.

(6) The membership of the Council, including the Governor, would thus be fifteen, with nine official members other than the Governor and three Africans and two others drawn from the general public as against one African and four others at present.

(7) The Executive Council would be the principal instrument of policy and the members would be required publicly to support any policy decided upon by it. The Governor would consult the Executive Council on all important matters save in exceptional circumstances and, although he would continue to have the constitutional right to act against the advice of members of Executive Council, he would not, I should assume, do so save in exceptional circumstances.

(8) Ministers with executive responsibility, whether officials or members of the general public, would have the function under the Governor of forming and directing policy within their spheres of responsibility. But heads of departments would retain their full present status and responsibility for the administration of their departments.

(9) Parliamentary Under-Secretaries would have the functions of assisting their Ministers in the presentation of Government measures in Legislative Council, in answering questions and in debate; of assisting their Ministers generally in their work, including the formation of policy; and of travelling round the country and keeping in close touch with the public in connection with the work with which they were concerned.

5. The Legislative Council has recently been reorganised and enlarged and now has 56 instead of 32 members in addition to the Governor as President. There are now 28 representative members, of whom 14 are Africans, seven Europeans and seven Asians. The Government side of the Council consists of 17 officials and 11 cross-bench members drawn from the general public, of whom six are Africans. There are thus 20 African members in the present Council as against eight in the old Council.

6. I would not be prepared to recommend that the structure of the Legislative Council should be completely altered so soon after the recent change. But certain adjustments within the existing structure have in my opinion been shown to be desirable. Buganda with three members is, I consider, somewhat under-represented, while changes on the Government side of the Council are required to give effect to the proposals made above for the appointment of Ministers and Parliamentary Under-Secretaries drawn from the general public.

7. 1 therefore propose to make the following recommendations to the Secretary of State with regard to the Legislative Council:-

(1) Provided that the Great Lukiko agrees that Buganda should participate fully in the Legislative Council through members elected by whatever method is decided to be appropriate, I am prepared to recommend that the number of representative members from Buganda should be increased from three to five. In order to make this possible, the European and Asian representative members of the Council have stated their willingness each to give up one of their seven seats, the two members concerned transferring to the Government side of the Council on what is at present the cross-bench.

(2) This would increase the Government side of the Council from 28 to 30 and I propose that the representative side should also be increased to 30 by the addition of two further African members. One of these additional African seats would go to Busoga, the district, with the largest population outside Buganda; this would be on the assumption that the Busoga District Council would agree to elect members to Legislative Council. The other would go to one of the other most heavily populated districts outside Buganda.

(3) There would thus be 18 African representative members, six Asians and six Europeans.

(4) On the Government side of the Council there would be 10 or 11 official members instead of 17 at present. The Government side would also include the seven members of the public, five Ministers and two Parliamentary Under-Secretaries who would join the Government under the proposal in paragraph 4 (2) above. In so far as these seven members of the public joining the Government were drawn from the representative side or the cross-bench, they would be replaced there by other members drawn from the same section of the community as themselves.

(5) With the introduction of so substantial an element drawn from the general public onto what has hitherto been the official part of the Government side of the Council, I can see no reason for the retention of the cross-bench in its present form and this should, I propose, be converted into a Government back-bench. The members would still as at present be free to speak and vote as they like except on a motion of confidence.

(6) In addition to the three African Ministers and the two Parliamentary Under-Secretaries there would be seven other African members on the Government side of the Council -there are at present six Africans on the cross-bench. The total. number of Africans on the Council would thus be 30, 18 on the representative side and 12 on the Government side. In fact half the members of the Council would be Africans.

8. In order that a period of stability may be secured for the country, I would propose that no major changes in the above constitutional arrangements should be made for six years from the date of the introduction of these arrangements, if approved by H.M. Government; and that, assuming these arrangements are introduced in 1955, the position should be reviewed early in 1961, with a view to introducing any changes that are then agreed at the beginning of the life of the new Legislative Council which will come into being early in 1962.

9. In November, 1953, H.M. Government gave a most important assurance on the subject of East African federation. This assurance reads as follows: -

"Her Majesty's Government has no intention whatsoever of raising the issue of East African federation either at the present time or while local public opinion on this issue remains as it is at the present time. Her Majesty's Government fully recognises that public opinion in the Protectorate generally and Buganda in particular, including the opinion of the Great Lukiko, would be opposed to the inclusion of the Uganda Protectorate in any such federation; Her Majesty's Government has no intention whatsoever of disregarding this opinion either now or at any time, and recognises accordingly that the inclusion of the Uganda Protectorate in any such federation is outside the realm of practical politics at the present time or while public opinion remains as it is at the present time. As regards the more distant future, Her Majesty's Government clearly cannot state now that the issue of East African federation will never be raised, since public opinion in the Protectorate, including that of the Baganda, might change, and it would not in any case be proper for Her Majesty's Government to make any statement now which might be used at some time in the future to prevent effect being given to the wishes of the people of the Protectorate at that time. But Her Majesty's Government can and does say that, unless there is a substantial change in public opinion in the Protectorate, including that of the Baganda, the inclusion of the Protectorate in an East African federation will remain outside the realm of practical politics even in the more distant future."

This is a solemn and morally binding pledge which provides a full safeguard for the future. In order to ensure that, should the occasion ever arise in the future, public opinion throughout the Protectorate should be able to express itself fully and clearly, I am prepared to recommend to the Secretary of State that it should be laid down now that, should the occasion ever arise in the future to ascertain public opinion in terms of this pledge, the Protectorate Government would at that time consult fully with the Buganda Government and the other Authorities throughout the country as to the best method of ascertaining public opinion.

Return to: | Top of This Page | History Page | Buganda Home Page |