STATEMENT OF THE SIERRA LEONE GOVERNMENT ON THE
REPORT OF THE COMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO
DISTURBANCES IN THE PROTECTORATE
) (NOVEMBER, 1955 TO MARCH, 1956)
The Government in commenting on the Report wishes to express .its
gratitude for and appreciation of the labours of the Commission, which has
displayed quite outstanding ability and industry in the ground which it has
covered and the material which it has considered in the time available to it,
and in the comprehensive and lucid report and the far-reaching recommenda-
tions which it has submitted.
2. This report contains much that makes unpleasant reading. The
Government does not agree with some of the Commission's statements and
recommendations and has reservations in regard to others, which are explained
at a later stage of this statement, but is determined that all possible steps shall
t, be taken as soon as possible to remedy the conditions disclosed and, subject to
the reservations mentioned in the second and more detailed part of this statement,
accepts the Commission's recommendations to that end.
3. It is a particularly helpful feature of the Report that it contains an
exhaustive and detailed list of recommendations. These will be dealt with
seriatim in the second part of this statement, and clear statement givenwhether
Government accepts or rejects each of them, and in the latter event a statement
of the reasons which have prompted Government's decision. An indication
will also be given of the action which has already been taken, orwhich is planned,
to put those which are accepted into effect.
4. The Report, however, made very clear to Government that some
action must be taken immediately, without waiting for the preparation and
publication of the Report itself and a full covering statement by Government,
in order to put a stop forthwith to the abuses and mal-practices which the
Commission had brought to light, and to restore to those who had been so
victimised a degree ofconfidence in the local administration. It was also necessary
to clarify without delay the position in regard to local taxes, and to make clear that,
while taxes would be kept at a level found by the Commission to be within the
powers of all taxpayers to meet, payment at that rate would be firmly insisted
upon by Government. Moreover the Report had made clear that in some cases
disturbances could be directly attributed to misconduct by Chiefs, Section
Chiefs or Headmen, which had been actively subversive of the interests of good
government, and it was necessary in the interests of maintaining law and order
to give the earliest possible assurance that detailed local inquiry would be held
into such matters, with a view to taking appropriate action against the offenders
when such conduct was proved to have taken place.
5. For this purpose the following preliminary statement was issued,
accompanied by the schedule shown as Appendix A to this paper, as soon as
the Report had been considered:-
1 Government is now giving consideration to the Report of the
Commission of Inquiry into the disturbances in the Provinces.
2 It is intended to publish the whole Report, with a full statement
thereon, during September when it has,been printed, but Govern-
ment has in the meantime reached the following decisions on matters
requiring immediate attention, which are now published for the
information of the public:-
(1) Levies and extortions, including thpse which helped to cause
the disturbances, will be investigated ahd h6' offenders will be
dealt with without fear or favour. :' ''
(2) In all chiefdc:,, !i 'w -, ;i:i, J ii, r i:: have occurred,
proceedings nl-i .' Pr, .4t, (,, ):;ii : I' will be instituted
to ascertain whether the conduct of any Chief, Sub-Chief or
Headman has been subversive of the interests of good govern-
(3) All demands for forced or compulsory labour by Chiefs or any
other persons must cease forthwith and the necessary legislation
will be introduced as soon as possible. No such labour need
be performed by anyone.
(4) Government wishes it to be clearly understood that a taxpayer's
compulsory liability is confined to his local tax. All the fees
and charges shown in the attached schedule have no legal
authority and are prohibited, and must no longer be exacted or
paid. Other fees not shown in the schedule may continue to
be charged in chiefdoms where they are already the practice,
but may not be introduced elsewhere except on the authority
of properly enacted bye-laws under section 16 of Cap. 245.
For any fee or licence which is permitted now or in the future
a proper official receipt must be obtained, and any failure to
issue one should immediately be reported to the District Com-
missioner or the Police. A taxpayer is not liable to pay any
charge, levy, fee, tax or licence whatsoever not permitted in
terms of this notice either to a Chief, Section Chief, Tribal
Authority clerk, or any other employee of the Native Adminis-
(5) The public should refuse to pay any charges which are not
allowed by the terms of the preceding paragraph and in the
event of demands being made by a Chief, Headman, clerk,
messenger or other employee of the Native Administration for
which they do not know the authority, should complain forth-
with to the District Commissioner or the Police.
(6) Members of the public must also clearly understand that no
fine may be imposed by any person whatever except after
proper proceedings, duly recorded, in an established Court of
Law, and that a receipt should be demanded for every fine paid.
Any attempt to impose a fine other than by proper Court
proceedings, or any failure to issue a receipt for a fine paid into
Court, should immediately be reported to the District
Commissioner or the Police.
(7) Government accepts the Commission's view that a 25s. tax can
reasonably be paid by every male taxpayer throughout the
Protectorate. Government has therefore decided that the tax
rates approved for 1956, of which 25s. was the maximum, shall
remain unchanged during 1956 and 1957, and must be paid by
all those liable."
6. Arrangements were made for this statement to be read by District
Commissioners at all Chiefdom Headquarters, for it to be translated and
printed in the Temne and Mende languages both in ordinary and poster size,
and to be given thewidest possible publicity by all available means throughout
7. At the same time the Secretary of State was requested by telegram to
assist in finding suitably qualified persons from out-side Sierra Leone, who had
judicial experience and capacity in order to conduct the local inquires promised
under the Protectorate Ordinance. The terms of reference of these Commis-
sioners will be as shown in the example at Appendix B to this Statement.
8. The Government wishes to record the following comments on certain
observations in the body of the Report which it considers require explanation,
or in some cases repudiation:-
(a) In paragraph 4 of Chapter II the Commission refers to a petition,
admitted to be anonymous, sent to the Minister for Local Govern-
ment complaining about an increase in local tax in the Maforki
Chiefdom. Government wishes to emphasise that a very considerable
number of anonymous petitions are received, not infrequently claiming
to be on behalf of large groups of people but apparently the work of
one man, and that it is normally neither practicable nor wise to
give them serious attention. At that time the Ministry had no
reason to suppose that a serious situation was brewing, or that the
document merited more notice than any other anonymous letter.
The letter was in fact not seen by the Minister.
(b) In paragraphs 6 and 7 of Chapter IV the Commission were critical
of the use made of certain Paramount Chiefs in November, 1955,
.to visit other chiefdoms in order to explain the decisions which
Government had reached regarding the tax precepts of District
Councils and the age of tax liability. This decision was made by
Government as a whole, and not by a particular Ministry, because it
was extremely urgent that the information should be conveyed as
soon as possible and some District Commissioners were already far
too pre-occupied with the situation which had arisen to allow them
to make a tour of several chiefdoms. In these circumstances
Government is still of the opinion that, despite the unfortunate
effects which the Commission attribute to it, the decision was the best
in the current circumstances.
(c) In the same connexion reference has been made in Chapter XXII,
paragraph 11, to briefs alleged to have been handed to a District
Councillor in Magburaka and to a Chief by the Minister of Local
Government, which procedure, in the view of the Commission, showed
a marked tendency on the part of Government to prefer unofficial
to official channels in explaining matters to the people and was
calculated to sow distrust of District Commissioners. It is not
admitted that any brief was handed to a Councillor at Magburaka.
The action of the Minister in relation to the Chief was as a result of
the Government decision referred to in the preceding sub-paragraph.
It is desired to emphasise that the procedure adopted was in no
way calculated or intended to diminish or undermine the respon-
sibility of the District Commissioners. If such was the event it is
strongly deplored by Government.
(d) In the first paragraph of Chapter VI the Commission is critical of a
remark made by the Minister for Local Government when intro-
ducing the Local Tax Ordinance of 1954 into the Legislative Council,
which reads as follows: "In addition this Bill will minimise, if not
completely eradicate, the difference between Colony and Protectorate.
When this Bill becomes an Ordinance every male living in the Protecto-
rate and of the age of eighteen and above will be eligible for taxation".
(The age limit was subsequently raised in the Committee stage of the
Bill to twenty-one). In justice to the Minister quoted Government
feels bound to point out that this quotation has been taken out of its
context by the Commission. The words used were never intended to
reduce to a common level the taxisystem of the Colony and Pro-
tectorate, but merely referred to the abolition of Settlers' Fees.
(e) Considerable attention is focused in Chapter VI of the Report on the
S speed with which the Local Tax Ordinance of 1954 was introduced
and passed into law before the beginning of 1955, when it came into
operation. That this Bill was passed into law as soon as possible
is true, and Government fully agrees that it would have been desirable
if the process could have been more leisurely. There was neverthe-
less an extremely important reason why this could not be so. Prior
to:the enactment of this Ordinance there had been no individual
assessment of taxpayers, no individual receipts had been issued, and
there had been no tax rolls. The recommendations of the Keith-
Lucas Commission on Electoral Reform, which allowed the franchise
in Local and Central Government elections to all adult males over
: .; .;. twenty-one in the Protectorate who were liable to pay tax or other
fees, had already been approved. 1 The life of the present Legis-
lative Council expires in October of this year, and it was therefore
n. necessary that both Local and Central Government elections should
be held on the basis of new adult male suffrage during 1956. The
basis of the electoral rolls had therefore of necessity to be based
upon records of those liable to pay tax and the machinery to estab-
lish these records was embodied in the Local Tax Ordinance.
Failure, therefore, to bring the Local Tax Ordinance into operation
in 1955 might well have prevented the holding of elections on the
new and enlarged franchise in 1956. In view of plans already under
way to seek an amendment of the Constitution in 1956 Government
could not contemplate such an eventuality.
(f) In the same chapter there is criticism of the action of the Ministry
concerned in relation to notification of the change in age at which
S a person became liable for tax. In this case there was undoubtedly
some confusion and misunderstanding over the issue of the proper
instructions but this was not the sole responsibility of the Ministry
: and the Government does not accept the implications of the
Report in this instance.
9. ,Parts of Chapter XI appear to imply that there may have been political
interference from-the Central Government in the internal affairs of some
chiefdoms. While Government is well aware that certain political parties
have, as the Commission's Report clearly indicated, tried to take advantage of
disturbed.conditions in chiefdoms for their 'own political ends, it wishes to
state categorically that on no occasion whatever has there been any inter-
vention by Government on political or party grounds, direct or indirect, in the
internal affairs of.any chiefdom, nor has it atiany time been influenced by any
such considerations in dealing with chiefdom matters.
10. There is also an implication in the ninth paragraph of Chapter XI
of the Report that Government may, by example, have contributed to the
bolstering up of unpopular Chiefs.
The considered views of the Government are that Chiefs have, and will
continue to have a very important role to play in the general development of
this country for a long time to come and must be given every help and encourage-
ment by Government towards this end. At Ithe same time Goveriment holds
the view, and has pointed out time and again, that the Chiefs themselves must
adapt their attitude to the changing and advancing conditions of the times,
and-it would be to-their personal detriment and to the discredit of chieftaincy
if they failed to do so. In other words it is clearly the duty of the Chiefs to see
that the interests of the people in their chiefdoms come first and not their own
personal aggrandisement. Government still abides by this view most strongly,
and has never at any time consciously bolstered any oppressive Chief. In the
eyes of the Government both the people and the Chiefs are an integral part of
the country's structure and both sides can expect fair and equitable treatment
from Government as long as they work along the right lines. The activities of
a number of Chiefs, Tribal Authorities and Chiefdom employees have been
criticised in the strongest terms in the Report: Government cannot but accept
the justice of these criticisms, and is taking urgent measures to remedy the
conditions which gave rise to them.
11. The Commission devotes a chapter of its Report to the position of
the District Commissioners, and considers that their position has been lowered
in the eyes of the general public in the Protectorate during the last few years.
It suggests that this, and a consequent lack of faith in their authority and power
to remedy injustice, may have been a contributing factor in depriving them of
that full knowledge of what was going on which might have enabled them to
warn Government of the impending danger. It is also suggested that the
abolition of the Court Messenger Force, simultaneously with the introduction
of the Police Force into the Protectorate, may have contributed to the idea that
the power and authority of the District Commissioners had been reduced.
This may, unfortunately, have been the case. Government must therefore state
unequivocally that such has not been its intention, and that any public impres-
sion that may have gained ground that District Commissioners are no longer
the executive arm of the Central Government in their districts is wrong, and
contrary to Government's wishes.
Government recognizes clearly that the Provincial Commissioners and
District Commissioners are its principal local agents in the field and has had
every confidence in them. For Officers who are prepared to meet changes
which place more and more responsibility on the African, in a spirit of true
help, friendship, tolerance and advancement of the local people, Government
hereby unhesitatingly gives the assurance that they will continue to enjoy the
unqualified confidence, support and protection of the Government in the
discharge of their heavy responsibilities as agents of the Central Government.
They have, on behalf of the Central Government, access to and powers of
surveillance over all Government institutions, and institutions established by
Government's authority in the Provinces and districts. This last applies
particularly to local government institutions in their present stage of develop-
ment in the Protectorate, including District Councils. District Commissioners
will cease to act as members of the latter institutions and will, as Government's
representatives in the field, resume. their proper duties of supervision. A Bill
to amend the relevant Ordinance in order to terminate their legal membership
will be introduced very shortly. They will be entitled to call for the production
of all books and accounts, to point out errors of fact, accounting, or procedure,
and to help get them rectified. Such legislation as may be necessary to establish
them in the exercise of these functions and to ensure that their proper directions
are followed by all concerned will be enacted as soon as possible.
12. The Commission refers, in paragraph 4 of Chapter XX, to restrictions
which had been placed on the freedom of movement of the police into chiefdoms
in the Protectorate, and state that the directive issued most certainly prevented
the police from establishing themselves in the Protectorate in a way which, if
they had been unfettered, might have been followed. This directive, which
issued as a result of representations on the matter by certain Paramount Chiefs,
appeared as Appendix II to Sessional Paper No. 4 of 1954. That the Com-
mission's view on this point is correct is possible, but in Government's opinion
is highly improbable. The Police assumed responsibility in the Protectorate,
at short notice, in .response to pressure of public opinion, and with what was
recognized as the barest possible minimum strength to do so. In the short
,period'between their assumption of responsibility and the outbreak of the
.'disturbances their numbers were wholly inadequate to do more than establish
themselves in the main stations and to consolidate. They lacked all buildings
outsidee headquarters stations, and were short of transport and officers: there is
little chance indeed that they would have been able to establish themselves more
widely in the Protectorate in the time available before the disturbances. As
regardss the actual period of the disturbances Government has had.the assurance
of both the Commissioner of Police and the Chief Commissioner of the Pro-
tectorate that no impediment or restriction of any sort whatever was placed
upon the movements of the police in any part of the Protectorate.
13. The Report makes very clear the difficulties under which the police
operated in restoring order and the acute strain which was placed upon them,
-and Government is very glad to express its appreciation of the admirable
mixture of restraint and resolution with which the Force discharged its duty.
*Government wishes to record its approval of the Police action taken and its
undiminished confidence in the officers concerned.
14. The Government has noted that the Commission's recommendations,
where they do not refer specifically to the recently disturbed areas, are intended
t6 apply to the Protectorate as a whole, and unless stated otherwise when it
accepts them does so for general application in all districts of the Protectorate.
15. In Chapter XXIII of the Commission's Report (Summary of Recom-
mendations and Conclusions) it is stated that the disturbances resulted from
grave maladministration in the local sphere in the Protectorate, and that the
situation of extensive dishonesty on one side and the resulting detestation and
mistrust on the other was complicated by Government's almost complete
ignorance that any untoward state of affairs existed.
This is an over-simplification. The disturbances were the culmination of
a long train of events starting in the years after the war for which it would be
quite unreasonable to hold the present Government responsible. As far back
as 1948 there was evidence of unrest in the Southern Province and this became
more marked in 1950 and subsequent years as a result of the unsettlement
following upon the war, the decline of moral standards in general, the under-
mining of respect for law and order following on widespread discoveries of
diamonds and the economic consequences.
In the Southern Provinces the reaction of the commonalty was to detest
and resent as extortion and oppression practices which they had previously
accepted as part of their custom and the rights of their Chiefs. As a result
there was a marked increase in the number of complaints to the Government
against Paramount Chiefs and Tribal Authorities. The Government took
immediate action by (a) instituting inquiries where necessary which resulted
regrettably, enough in a number of depositions of Chiefs and other Tribal
Authorities, (b) progressively democratising the local institutions, for example,
(i) making Tribal Authorities more representative, (ii) appointing Presidents
of Native Courts, (iii) setting up of Chiefdom Committees to advise the Chief
on the day to day administration of the chiefdom, and (iv) last but not least
introducing local head tax with a view to implementing the Keith-Lucas recom-
mendations which are intended to extend the franchise to every male adult.
In the North, particularly amongst the Temnes,the picture was completely
different. The prevalent practice continued to be "Once a Chief always a
Chief," so much so that up to the present when a Chief ceases to function for
any cause .whatsoever, no Chief could be crowned until after his death. For
example since the deposition of Chief Bai Suntuba and the amalgamation of the
Ponkolenken Chiefdoms the people have not shown any willingness to elect
a Chief. It should not therefore be surprising that people with such traditional
loyalty to their Chiefs should have gone on not merely resignedly submitting
to the conditions that prevailed, but actually lending their aid to the maintenance
of the status quo by their unwillingness to bring such practices to the notice of
the Administrative Officers who have always been and still are empowered to
inquire into such complaints and to take steps to remedy them.
With the diamond boom and other economic developments, Northerners
more freely travelled to and from the South and vice versa. The exchange of
visits no doubt resulted in an eye opening in the North and the experience of
different conditions in the South undoubtedly spurred the Northerners to react,
to their once accustomed lot in the manner they did. The result therefore has,:i
in the opinion of the Government, not been due to a noticeable increase in
oppression but to a change of attitude from one of consent or tolerance to one
of bitter resentment.
The Government therefore resents and rejects the suggestion that it was in
complete ignorance that any untoward state of affairs existed and the implication
that it did not care if it continued. But what is of much greater importance is
the need to put right all that has gone wrong and to give the ordinary man in
the street and the villages the assurance of a fair deal from all levels of govern-
ment. This the Government is determined to ensure.
This portion of the statement sets out in detail the various
recommendations which have been made by the Commission, and
the decisions which Government has, at the present juncture, made
upon each of them.
Chapter 1, "There should be no application of the Riot Damages Ordin-
Para. 30. ance of 1953."
The Commission has advanced cogent arguments against
the application of the Ordinance, but Government, neverthe-
less, must have in mind that there may be innocent and
deserving persons whose property has been damaged or
destroyed. A decision has accordingly been deferred on this
recommendation, and in the meantime further and more
precise information is being obtained in regard to those who
have suffered loss. When this information is available,
together with the results of the inquiries under the Protecto-
rate Ordinance which are to be held in those chiefdoms in
which serious disturbances occurred, the recommendation
will be considered again.
Paras. 33/34. There should be no general amnesty, but there should be no
general pursuit of offenders."
Government agrees that there should be no general pursuit
of alleged wrongdoers. The decision whether to prosecute in
any individual case must, however, be left to the discretion of
Para. 37. The custom of giving and receiving presents should not be
developed as a convention of modern government."
The Government accepts this recommendation, and will
endeavour to put it into effect. In particular the Native
Administrations will be required to include in their estimates
provision to cover the proper expenses of their servants,
which it has been in many parts the custom to meet under a
system of "presents."
Chapter III, More tolerance of crowds by the police should be shown
para. 261. when immediate dispersal is not necessary."
This recommendation Government accepts as advice
which should be borne in mind by all Police officers.
Chapter VII, "Those travelling on chiefdom business to be forbidden to
Para. 48. receive 'shake-hands' but should be paid 'subsistence'
provided by Chiefdom Estimates."
This recommendation is accepted, and Native Adminis-
trations are being required to include the necessary provisions
in their Estimates.
Chapter VIII, Methods of direct local taxation in the Colony to be
para. 10. assimilated to those in the Protectorate."
Government notes this recommendation.
Chapter IX. Reforms in tax imposition should be made to spread the
incidence more equitably, and methods of collection changed
to avoid recent abuses."
This recommendation can be more precisely expressed in
the words of the opening paragraph of this Chapter, which
"We are satisfied that there must be some form of low
head tax covering the vast majority, and that those who
can afford to pay more to local revenues should do so."
With the principle of this recommendation the Government
is in full agreement, and wishes to observe that the House Tax
had, in practice, been applied as a Head Tax from 1937 to
the introduction of the Local Tax Ordinance. The Govern-
ment has accepted the view expressed by the Commission
that a Head Tax of 25s. per head is reasonably payable by all
taxpayers throughout the Protectorate, and has in its earlier
statement given assurance that no local tax will exceed this
figure in 1956 or 1957. It fully accepts the Commission's
view, however, that a simple graduated rate based on property
must be superimposed on this basic rate as soon as possible
after 1957. Whether this graduated rate should be based
upon a classification of house property, or upon some other
criterion, or upon some other criterion combined with that of
house property is not a question upon which an answer can
be given without further examination. For this purpose it is
Government's intention to appoint an expert to conduct an
inquiry and to advise upon the best basis in local conditions
for the introduction of a graduated local rating system in
conjunction with a basic local Head Tax. Though it is not
specifically mentioned in the Schedule of recommendations in
Chapter XXIII of the Report, the Commission advised that
non-payment of tax should be made a criminal offence, as it
was until the enactment of the Local Tax Ordinance of 1954.
This is an important recommendation, on which many
diverse views will no doubt be held, and which by many will
be regarded as a reactionary step out of touch with modern
developments. The reasons advanced by the Commission in
support of this recommendation are set out in some detail in
paragraphs 19 and 22 of Chapter IX of the Report, and in
Government's view they are convincing. Only last year did
the duty of paying his tax of his own volition first fall upon the
individual taxpayer, and, as the Commission states, there is
little doubt that it was paid under the misplaced fear of
criminal sanctions. It is not practical to meet mass default
in payment by the processes of civil law, and for this reason
Government accepts the recommendation, until the habit of
personal responsibility for payment of tax has been firmly
inculcated, that criminal sanction against non-payment
should be introduced. Legislation to give effect to this
recommendation will therefore be introduced.
This recommendation is fundamentally linked with that in
paragraph 21 to the effect that while the taxpayer must still
be liable to have his tax demanded from him by the collecting
authorities in his chiefdom he should have both the liability
and the right in the first instance to pay it himself direct to
the Chiefdom Treasury. This recommendation is fully
accepted, and the legislation necessary to give it effect will be
introduced as soon as practicable.
Government accepts the recommendation in Chapter IX
that there should be grants of a more general nature to
Chapter X, All fees and licences charged by Tribal Authorities should be
para. 12. abandoned at once."
Para. 16. The pending review of fees and licenses should be completed
as quickly as possible."
Para. 17. "Fees-as distinct from those resulting from a contractual
liability-and licences to be based on bye-laws made in model
These three recommendations are most conveniently
considered together. Government is unable to accept in full
the recommendation that all fees and licences should be
abandoned at once. Some fees, even though not yet autho-
rised by formal bye-laws, are properly charged for services
rendered, such as market and slaughter-house fees, and it
would be most undesirable to abandon them now and then
attempt to re-impose them, as would necessarily follow, by
formal bye-laws at a later stage. Others are wholly unjustified
and must certainly be abandoned at once. An interim
review of fees and licences has already been carried out,
and a preliminary division has been made into those which
must be abandoned at once and those which, subject to
proper safeguards and authority, may be permitted to continue.
Government agrees with the recommendation that fees and
licences should be based on bye-laws made in approved
The action taken on these three recommendations is
summarised in paragraphs 4 and 5 of the Preliminary State-
ment set out in paragraph 5 herein. A large number of fees
and licences are prohibited forthwith. There remains a
considerable number which, though reasonable and proper,
at moderate rates, are not yet covered by approved bye-laws.
Of these, only a limited number are actually in force in each
chiefdom. The statement therefore provides that where
these fees are already in practice without bye-laws they may
continue for the time being. Administrative action will be
taken to ensure that approved bye-laws are enacted to cover
such temporarily approved fees and licences within the next
six months, and that if such bye-laws are not enacted, or are
enacted but not subsequently approved within that period,
the fees or licences will be then abandoned. No fees or
licences of this class may be introduced anew into any area
where not already in practice without the previous authority
of approved bye-laws. No new fees or licences of any sort
may be introduced anywhere from now onwards without
proper legal authority, and attempts to do so will be punished.
Para. 19. The onus of paying fees and taking out licences should be on
the payer to whom proper facilities should be given."
Government accepts this recommendation and will ensure
that this principle is adopted.
Para. 20. "The form of licences should be standardised and specially
printed-the use of general revenue receipts should be
discontinued for licensing."
The Government accepts this recommendation, and the
subsidiary recommendation that the charge levied should
be clearly printed in large type in the body of the licence.
It will be implemented as soon as the necessary licence forms
can be designed and printed for licences permitted at present,
and in respect of all licences approved in future.
" Efforts should be made to establish a convention that Chiefs Chapter XI
do not participate in party' politics." para. 4.
While recognizing that such a convention would in all
probability be desirable Government considers, with some
regret, that it would not be possible in existing circumstances
for it to take any concrete steps to put it into effect. In
coming to this conclusion Government has it in mind that it
is proposed thatup to twelve Chiefs should hold seats in the
revised Legislature which has been recommended to the
Secretary of State. It would obviously be liable to prejudice
a Chief's position in his own chiefdom and to give opportuni-
ties to any opponents he might have if he were too deeply ,
commiitted in party politics, and in Government's view the
question of such participation is one which must be left to
the political sense of the Chiefs themselves.
"Government should avoid seeming to wield any 'party' Para. 5.
influence in chiefdom matters."
Government will continue, as it has done in the past, to
avoid either the semblance or the reality of wielding any
"party influence in such matters.
" Chiefs should owe their first duty to the chiefdom; they Para. 6.
should not be extensively used for performing extraneous
duties, although a special place in the Legislature would not
at present have serious consequences."
Government accepts this recommendation and will endea-
vour not to call upon Chiefs to perform extraneous duties
such as sitting upon boards and committees in future unless
no other suitable persons are available for the purpose.
A special place has been proposed for Chiefs in the next
Legislature, and it is not possible to say whether some Chiefs
will or will not hold ministerial office.
"Action to inquire into misdeeds of Chiefs which have come Paras; 9l10.
to notice should be instituted at once and the procedure
generally for inquiring into cases of misrule by Chiefs should
be used with less reluctance and the practice of granting
pensions to deposed Chiefs should be used with more
Government agrees with the first part of this recommenda-
tion, and as already mentioned in the first part of this
statement has applied to the Secretary of State for help in
securing the services of persons to hold these inquiries as
soon as possible. Government is not aware that it has
shown reluctance in the undertaking of inquiries into cases
of misrule by Chiefs, and its administrative officers have
instructions to report all cases of misrule by Chiefs without
hesitation or delay in order that prompt inquiry into. them
may be made.
Though exceptional cases may occur, Government agrees
that the award of pensions to deposed Chiefs should be
sparingly made, and will act accordingly.
Para. 11. Chiefdom administrations should be overhauled with vigour."
Government agrees with this recommendation, and within
the limits imposed by the staff available for the purpose will
endeavour to put it into effect.
Para. 13. Chiefdomsmustremain the foundation for local government:
amalgamations should be actively encouraged but should
not be imposed unless exceptionally."
Government is in full agreement with this recommendation,
of which that part dealing with amalgamation is a reflection
of the policy which Government has for some time followed.
Chapter XII, The emoluments of Chiefs should be determined by the
para. 4. chiefdom without Government pressure unless the proposals
Para. 5. There should be investigations into Chiefs' emoluments to
ensure that all the income from their office passes -through
the Chiefdom Treasury which votes their salaries (and
allowances) without regard for extraneous income."
In Government's view there is some degree of contradiction
between these two recommendations, and while agreeing that
the chiefdom must have a large say in the emoluments of the
Chiefs it whole-heartedly accepts the second recommendation
that there should be a detailed investigation into Chiefs'
emoluments in order to regularise them and to canalise them
through the Chiefdom Treasuries. With this is closely
linked the payment of mining rents, etc. received from
mining companies and others. Government has therefore
decided that a sub-Committee of the Executive Council
should undertake a thorough investigation into both these
matters and report on the lines advised by the Commission.
Para. 15. There should be relentless investigation into any suggestion
of the exaction of tribute, and ruthless prosecution of
The Government fully accepts this recommendation, and
is giving it the widest publicity.
Chapter There should be no special element in taxation to provide a
XIII, para. 9. house for a Chief."
The Government accepts this recommendation, and will
ensure that such elements are excluded in future.
Para. 14. Chiefdom funds should not be expended upon Chiefs' houses
unless the building is to remain chiefdom property, whatever
form of construction is used."
The Government accepts this recommendation.
Chapter "Chiefs should avoid being in commercial relations with their
XIV, para. 2. people."
While Government is in general agreement with the view
expressed in this recommendation it considers that it is a
matter which cannot be made the subject of official direction,
but must be left to the Chief's own discretion. It is, however,
clear that if a Chief devoted so much time to his commercial
business as to prevent him properly discharging the duties of
his office, or if he allowed it to influence him improperly in
the discharge of those duties, he would render himself liable
to proceedings under the Protectorate Ordinance. In the
Government's opinion, which it records for the information
of the Chiefs, there is no objection to them engaging in farm-
ing and similar rural pursuits-indeed they may by example
do much good in this sphere- but it is undesirable that they
should engage in any business which may bring them into
competition with their people and thus affect, or appear to
affect their impartiality or to undermine the dignity of their
office, or take up an undue amount of time or interest which
should be devoted to the affairs of their chiefdoms.
" With a view to establishing a convention, Chiefs should be Para. 6.
asked at their installation to declare the extent of their
There are many implications in relation to tribal law and
custom involved in this recommendation and Government
has not yet been able to consider them fully.
" The rights of Chiefs to forced labour should be abrogated Chapter XV
without any compensatory consideration." para. 20.
As already indicated in the preliminary statement quoted
in paragraph 5 herein, Government fully accepts this
recommendation. In the great majority of cases the Chiefs or
their predecessors have already given up any claims to forced
labour which they may have had in the past by agreement,
and no such claim can be entertained in modern conditions.
" The rights of Government to resort to forced labour should Para. 21.
be similarly abrogated-leaving only paragraphs (c), (d) and
(e) of section 2 of Cap. 82 as exceptions to the general pro-
The Government fully agree with this recommendation
also, and though provision for forced labour has remained
in the Statute Book its use by Government was abandoned
many years ago. The legislation necessary to give effect to
this and to the immediately preceding recommendation will
be drafted as soon as possible.
"The Tribal Authorities have so degenerated that they should ChapterXVI
be replaced by Chiefdom Authorities." para. 16.
The original function of the Tribal Authorities was to elect
the Paramount Chief, and Government agrees that they have
become far too large properly to discharge the functions,
particularly those of an executive nature, which have been
lately placed upon them. This has, as the Commission
shows, led to the assumption of quite improper executive
authority by individual members, and an increasing inertia
of the Authorities as a whole. Government does not accept
the recommendation that the Tribal Authorities should be
abolished entirely, in view of their fundamental function of
electing the Paramount Chief, and also their responsibility for
the enunciation, and the modification when required, of
tribal customary law. As experience had shown the Tribal
Authorities to be unsuited by their size to perform adequately
the executive functions of local government, Government had,
prior to the disturbances, begun to introduce small executive
committees called Chiefdom Councils (the equivalent of the
Chiefdom Committees recommended by the Commission).
Government had also realized the need to make the Authori-
ties and the Councils progressively more democratic and
representative of all interests in the chiefdoms and had
introduced measures to ensure progress in that. direction.
Para. 22. The Chiefdom Treasuries Rules should be amended to
provide greater powers of inspection and
Para. 23. Chiefdom accounts should be liable to audit by the Audit
S Government accepts this recommendation, and concurs
with the view of the Commission that the present limited
powers of District Commissioners to inspect documents
and books of account" is inadequate, and that inspection
of Tribal Authority books of account by a Central Native
Administration Clerk paid by the Tribal Authorities them-
selves is also inadequate. It therefore accepts the recom-
mendation that the latter officials should be members of the
Government service and should function under the direction
of the District Commissioner, exercising such powers as he
may depute to' them: Government also accepts the
Commission's recommendation that District Commissioners'
powers in this field should be extended to include demanding
the production of all books of account and documents, of
requiring explanations from the Treasurer or any other
officer or employee of the Tribal Authorities of any matter
in such books or documents and to inspect works, stores,
contracts, and supplies referred to by such books or documents.
Government will also take steps to ensure that any proper
directions or requirements made by a District Commissioner
or inspecting officer acting under his direction in such matters
receive due compliance, and agrees that such powers should
also extend to any accounting operations of Chiefdom
Authorities when the latter come into being. While in
agreement with the Commission's opinion that the staff of
the Audit Department will not for some time be able to
undertake regular audit inspection of the books of Tribal
Authorities, Government is in agreement with the recom-
mendation that the Department should be empowered to do
so, though without powers of surcharge at present, and
should also be similarly empowered in. respect of the books
of Chiefdom Authorities when the latter are established, so
that its services may be called upon whenever circumstances
render this desirable.
Chapter "Tribal Authorities should be replaced by Chiefdom
Authorities, with a new emphasis.."
This recommendation has already been discussed, in
connection with Chapter XVI, paragraph 16, above.
Chapter Paramount Chiefs should not sit in the Chiefdom Court, but
XVIII, should preside over a Court of Appeal."
para. 25. Sitting fees should not be dependent on Court revenues."
Para. 26. "Court fees and fines should be accounted for separately."
Para. 27. ', There should be a small Bench of specially selected persons
with no President or Vice-President, but a Chairman
appointedcfrom time to time by the Bench."
*" The Bench should be representative of the whole chiefdom Paras. 28'29.
and should be appointed for a year at a time."
Honoraria should be paid in lieu of sitting fees." Para. 30.
"' Group Native Appeal Courts should be established with the Para. 31.
S Paramount Chief presiding."
Statutory protection should be given to officers of the Court." Para. 33.
." Illegal' Courts' should be suppressed (with safeguards for Para. 35.
"The Native Courts Ordinance should be amended to give Para. 36.
effect to the recommendations."
S" A Judicial Adviser for Native Courts should be appointed." Para. 37.
The Government has at present before it a long and
:': -detailed report by Mr. N. J. Brooke, who conducted an
-' exhaustive inquiry into all aspects of the Native Court
system in the Protectorate. The detailed examination of this
an. :i report and of Mr. Brooke's recommendations must necessarily
;'i ., take considerable time, and in Government's opinion the
Commission's recommendations quoted above must be
considered simultaneously with those of Mr. Brooke. There-
fore, while prima facie Government sees no reason to dissent
from them it will not record a final opinion on them until
*that. joint consideration is completed, with two exceptions:
S Firstly, it accepts the recommendation that a Judicial
Adviser to Native Courts should be appointed, and will
endeavour to fill the vacancy for this post which already
exists as soon as possible.
Secondly, it agrees that illegal" Courts must be suppressed,
and will take all practicable measures to this end.
Government had already established in one district a
Group Native Appeal Court, an experiment which has so
far proved a success. The extension of the system is under
The existence and size of Chiefdom Messenger Forces should Chapter
be subject to approval of the Governor in Council: they XIXpara.7.
Should be subject to inspection: they should bear the title of
;' Police': they should have limited powers of arrest, and
should be supervised by something in the nature of a 'Watch
Government is in general agreement with this recommenda-
tion, except in so far as the title of the projected forces is
concerned, and agrees that they should be supervised by a
Watch Committee or Committee of the Chiefdom Council,
so as to assure that they do not regard themselves and are not
regarded by others as personal servants of the Chief. They
should be liable to training by the Police, and to inspection
by the Police or the District Commissioner. They should
not for the present at least bear the title of Police, partly in
order to avoid possible confusion with the Sierra Leone
Police, and partly because it is most unlikely for some con-
siderable time that their training and quality will justify them
in the exercise of all the powers which the law confers upon
Police officers. Government will arrange as soon as possible
for the drafting of an Ordinance controlling the raising,
training, powers, pay and conditions of service and discipline
of Chiefdom Messengers throughout the Prdteetorate.
" Satisfactory Chiefdom (Police) Forces should be subsidized."
Government accepts the principle of this recommendation,
subsidy being dependent upon standards of training and
efficiency attained and demonstrated under Police inspection.
" The mere possession of any instruments of restraint (other
than handcuffs) should be .forbidden."
The recommendation is accepted. Where it is necessary
to maintain lock-ups for prisoners before trial or before
transfer to a district prison they will be subject to inspection
/ and regulation.
Para. 12. "Chiefdom lock-ups' should not be used for incarcerating
convicted persons, but
Para. 13. should be used by Chiefdom Police (Messengers) for securing
arrested persons, at their own peril, and for keeping remanded
prisoners by order of a Native Court."
The Government accepts both these recommendations,
and will incorporate them in the legislation dealing with
Chiefdom Messengers and lock-ups referred to above.
Chapter XX, The limitations placed upon the activities of the Sierra Leone
para. 4. Police in the chiefdoms should be removed at once."
This point has already been discussed in paragraph 12 of
this statement. The restriction embodied in Appendix II of
SessionalPaper No. 4 of 1954 has already been allowed to lapse
in practice, and is now formally withdrawn. Appendix I of
the same Sessional Paper is now not required and is also
Para. 6. The Sierra Leone Police should be more extensively stationed"
Para. 9. There should be an increase in the strength of the Police."
Government accepts both of these recommendations, which
are in accordance with its present policy. There has been a
steady programme of Police expansion ever since the Police
moved into the Protectorate, which has still some way to go.
This expansion is being carried forward as fast as training
facilities, accommodation, and the supply of trained ,officers
permit, but it will be appreciated that there is a limit to the
volume of expansion which can be managed in one year.
Limitation of numbers and particularly of accommodation
have hitherto militated against the establishment of Police
stations, and Police stations away from headquarters stations,
in the Protectorate. A building programme is being drawn up
so as to enable detachments of police to be established as
widely as possible throughout the Protectorate. Consider-
ation is being given to the financial implications of this.
Para. 11. Special steps should be taken by the Police to deal with fraud."
Government is in general agreement with this recommend-
" Certain minor further powers should be given to the Police."
The powers referred to are to call for the temporary
surrender of fire-arms in time of civil commotions, the
power to regulate or to stop processions, and tentatively to
regulate the flying of flags and the display of emblems. As
regards, the.first of these points, the necessary power is vested
in the Governor under section 14 of the Arms and Ammuni-
tion Ordinance, 1955, which will shortly come into force.
As regards the regulation of processions, full power in this
respect is exercised by the Commissioner of Police in the
Colony area under the Processions Ordinance (Cap. 183 of
the Laws). Government agrees with the recommendation
that this power should be exercised in the Protectorate also,
either by extending the operation of the Ordinance to the
Protectorate or by amending the Proclamation under Section 24
of the Police Ordinance to confer this power of regulation
on selected senior Police officers on occasion when the
Proclamation was applied.
The regulation of the flying of flags and the bearing of
emblems is, as the Commission observes, a matter fraught
with difficulty, and is not one on which the Government can
express an opinion without much further examination of the
" District Commissioners should not be members of District Chapter
Councils in any circumstances." XXI, para.7.
The Government accepts this recommendation. This
is more fully discussed in paragraph 11 of this statement.
"In relation to District Councils the Auditor should have Para. 24.
wider powers of inspection coupled with a power to sur-
While Government is of opinion that in the case of District
Councils, though not so much as in the case of Chiefdom
Treasuries, sufficiently frequent regular Audit inspections
will present difficulties, Government accepts the recommenda-
tion that the Auditor should have the widest powers of
inspection of District Councils, and the authority to surcharge.
"District Councils should be retained and used in local affairs Para. 27.
only: they should not 'enjoy' the mandatory power to
precept upon the chiefdoms except by the Minister's direction
in unusual circumstances."
"There should be a review of the transfer of former Government Para.. 28.
functions to District Councils and a re-transfer of former
Chiefdom functions which Councils at present perform."
These two recommendations are best considered together.
Government has already accepted the recommendation
(Chapter XI, paragraph 13) that chiefdoms must remain the
foundation of local government. It equally believes that
District Councils are essential to the healthy development of
local government and complementary to the Tribal Authori-
ties. It is recognized that to preserve local interest the
Tribal Authorities .must have definite responsibilities and
duties to perform. It has therefore been decided to review
the distribution of functions between the Tribal Authorities,
District Councils and the Central Government to ensure their
efficient discharge coupled with healthy development at all
levels. The Central Government has decided to relieve the
District Councils of their responsibility for the operation of
With regard to the right of District Councils to precept on
Tribal Authortities Government has already announced that
it will not approve any increase in Local Tax until the end of
1957 and to appoint an expert to examine the taxation
system. This review will also include the financial relation-
ship between District Councils and Tribal Authorities and
in the light of this Government will consider what financial
assistance might be required.
Para. 35. "Alternative recommendation."
This does not now arise.
Chapter District offices to have an establishment of executive officers
XXII, to be used extensively for day to day contact with chiefdoms,
para. 8. and to disseminate Government policy."
Government agrees that some strengthening of District
Commissioners' staffs at non-clerical level is necessary, and is
examining the best method of carrying this out.
Para. 12. A standardised -method of dealing with complaints should be
S Government accepts this recommendation.
Para. 18. Government should take obvious steps to restore normal
official channels of communication between itself and officers
in the field."
In the Government's view the normal official channels of
Communication have neither been blocked nor allowed to
lapse, and it is not possible for Ministers to ignore reports
from their constituents or for Government to ignore reports
from Members of the Legislature. All such reports from the
Provinces, whether ir the nature of complaints or otherwise,
are normally referred back to the District or Provincial
Commissioner concerned before any action is taken upon
them, and the greatest care will be taken to see that this
procedure is followed.
Para. 29. "The maladjustment between the strength of (Administrative)
officers in the 'field' and in Freetown should be removed if
necessary by recruitment of officers on contract terms to man
some of the posts in Central Government offices."
This problem, which is closely linked with the disparity of
opportunity for advancement in the two spheres, is a familiar
one which has arisen elsewhere on the introduction of a
ministerial system but has been accentuated here by the small
size of the Administrative Service. The Commission's
recommendation is one way of meeting it, but Government is
by no means satisfied that it is the best in local circumstances.
Government agrees that some steps must be taken to deal
with the problem, is considering the best way to do so, and
will bring forward appropriate measures at an early date.
Canoes, Boats and Fishing, until regularised by proper bye-laws
Dogs, except under Municipal Licence
Palm Kernel Cracking Machines
Security (Night Guards)
Burning Bush Fees
Palm Tree Felling, until regularised by proper bye-laws
Exemption from Chiefdom Labour
COMMISSION ISSUED IN TERMS OF SECTION 36
OF THE PROTECTORATE ORDINANCE
To inquire into the conduct of Paramount Chief A of ................
Section Chiefs B and C of.................. ..............................
and.............................. ..........................Headman D
of......................................... in relation to the adminis-
tration of the.........................Chiefdom with particular reference
to the causes of the recent disturbances in that Chiefdom, and to report in
writing whether in his opinion it has been subversive of the interest of good
government, having regard to the native law and custom applicable in the