§ 3.19 p.m.
§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
My Lords, I have it in command from Her Majesty the Queen to acquaint the House that Her Majesty, having been informed of the purport of the Zambia Independence Bill, has consented to place Her prerogative and interest, so far as they are affected by the Bill, at the disposal of Parliament for the purposes of the Bill.
My Lords, I beg to move that the Bill be now read a second time. The Zambia Independence Bill makes provision for the ending of Her Majesty's protection over Northern Rhodesia on October 24 of this year, on which date the territory will become the independent sovereign Republic of Zambia, when, at her Government's request, we look forward to welcoming Zambia as a member of the Commonwealth.
Shortly after the territory became self-governing, Her Majesty's Government were in touch with the Government of Northern Rhodesia in regard to the further steps necessary to move forward to full independence, and it was eventually agreed that the Independence Conference should open in
I might perhaps mention at this point that Dr. Kaunda asked Her Majesty whether she would agree to be represented at the
The Constitution of Zambia will provide for an "executive" President. There may be those who feel that, as this new Constitution is one which does not embody the particular checks and balances which we enjoy in this country, for that reason it is less than democratic and thus a step on the road to eventual erosions of liberty. I feel that any such fears would be without foundation. I think it should be remembered that there are to be a number of important features in the Constitution, amendments freely and readily agreed by the Northern Rhodesian Government, which are specifically designed to preserve the liberty and rights of the individual, to limit the powers of the President, and to ensure that the Judiciary will be independent of control by the Executive. Perhaps most significantly, the Bill of Rights in the present Constitution is to be carried forward into the Independence Constitution. It will be entrenched by a special amendment procedure requiring a referendum, and there will be special provisions for its enforcement. The Constitutional Council which was established by the self-governing Constitution is not to be retained. The Council has, in fact, never met; but it has been agreed that broadly parallel functions shall be exercised, if needed, by a special Judiciary tribunal.
457 The Judiciary is to be independent, and any amendment of the provisions in the Constitution relating to the judiciary will also require the referendum process. The control of public prosecutions is to be in the hands of an independent Director of Public Prosecutions, whose relation to the Attorney-General will be comparable with the corresponding relationship in this country. There is to be a Public Service Commission for the Civil Service and there will also be a Judicial Service Commission. This new Constitution will contain many features which do not conform exactly with the
I turn now to the position of
The approach of independence made it necessary to consider new arrangements; and, following talks last summer with the then First Secretary of State, the Litunga agreed to take part in discussions with the Government of Northern Rhodesia on the question of the future relationship of Barotseland with Northern Rhodesia. Following lengthy negotiations the two parties agreed to sign a new agreement to be known as the Barotseland Agreement of 1964, which would replace all the old agreements and which would regulate Barotseland's special position as an integral part of the new
458 As we know, independence presents many economic problems, and
Before commenting on the clauses of the Bill which is now before your Lordships' House, I should like to pay very warm tribute, in which I know noble Lords on all sides of the House will join, to the work carried out by the Northern Rhodesia Civil Service. This Service, together with the Northern Rhodesia Police, has long had an exceptionally high reputation for efficiency and devotion to duty, and I am glad to say that the figures we now have available indicate that a very large proportion of the expatriate officers in these services have shown their readiness to continue to serve the Government of Zambia after independence and to make their contribution to the building of the new Constitution.
Noble Lords may have noted, perhaps with some relief, that an Explanatory Memorandum has been provided with this Bill. It has, as noble Lords know, been customary in the past not to attach these to Independence Bills, and I hope that noble Lords will find this a helpful, if modest, innovation. Clause 1 establishes the
Clause 5 enables Her Majesty in Council to provide for the jurisdiction, powers and procedure of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in respect of appeals from the courts of
Clause 8 terminates all rights and obligations of the Crown and the Government of Northern Rhodesia which arise under any of the existing agreements, undertakings or understandings with the Litunga of Barotseland. I would add that the clause does not of course affect the Barotseland Agreement of 1964, to which 460 I alluded a moment ago. Clause 9 enables any necessary adaptations to be made in
Before I conclude, I should like to express, on behalf of Her Majesty's Government, the great pleasure we have in being able to bring forward this measure. We wish the Government and people of
§ I beg to move that the Bill be now read a second time.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(The Duke of Devonshire.)
§ 3.32 p.m.