Courtesy Reuters

Toward Federation in Central Africa

THE goal of federation for Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland, long sought by Europeans on the spot though opposed by many of the native leaders, took tangible form when the Conference on Closer Association of Central African Territories, held in London last May, reached agreement on a draft constitution. Though it had seemed at one time that the London Conference would break up in failure, it reported agreement at the end on "all important matters of principle." The draft constitution has been published as a White Paper for discussion in the United Kingdom and Central Africa, and another conference will be held in January to put it in final form.

The proposed constitution includes provisions for the setting up of a federal legislature and executive, the maintenance of the protectorate status of the two northern territories and of the self-governing status of Southern Rhodesia within the federation, the composition of the federal assembly (including two elected Africans from each of the three territories), and the division of powers between the federal and territorial governments. The draft also suggests financial arrangements for the federation, and covers such important matters as the method of appointment and the function of a statutory African affairs board, the establishment of a Federal Supreme Court, and the procedure for amending the federal constitution. The conference also reaffirmed and gave effect in the draft scheme to earlier assurances on the subject of African land rights. It was decided to appoint fiscal, judicial and public service commissions to fill in the details of certain parts of the draft constitution in the light of principles accepted at the conference. The White Paper sums up the draft proposal in the following general terms:

The scheme endeavours to safeguard the essential interests of the three Territories and all their inhabitants and to strike a fair balance between the need to create a Federation possessing, both economically and politically, adequate scope and strength for its work and the requirement that the Territories

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