In the Belgian Parliament, Brussels, Nov 10, Minister of the Congo M.de Schryver made a?
In the Belgian Parliament, Brussels, Nov 10, Minister of the Congo M.de Schryver made a statement on the Government's policy for the mandated territories of Ruanda and Urundi, proposing self-rule by the end of next year.
The Mwami (paramount chief) of Urundi was present in the visitors' gallery. His counterpart, the Mwami of Ruanda had declined an invitation by King Baudouin, saying he could not leave his country at this moment of tribal strife.
M.de Schryver began by outlining the special status of Ruanda and Urundi, and the political differences between these and the Belgian Congo. He pointed out that Belgium's freedom of action as the mandatory Power is limited by the U.N. trusteeship agreement, and that one-sided changes of the agreement are not permissible.
Belgian administration of these isolated and backward regions goes back to 1917, when Belgian forces entered German East Africa. Although economic and social development has been promoted, there is a marked contrast between the minority of aristocratic Watutsis - and the mass of very poor peasants of the Bahutu serf tribe, at present in bitter conflict.
During a first stage of reform, local governments with wider powers would be established under Belgian trusteeship control. Administrative union with the Belgian Congo would be limited to monetary, Customs and technical matters.
In the first half of 1960, communities would be organised as villages, with local councils elected by universal suffrage extending to both men and women. During the second half of 1960, all the councillors would from the electorate for the National Council. This was to have legislative powers under the Mwami who would appoint a Government in agreement with the Belgian Resident-General.
The Mwami would be a constitutional chief, outside the Government and above the parties. In cases of urgency, the Resident-General would have power to issue legislative decrees.
M.de Schryver pointed out that Ruanda and Urundi had economic and financial difficulties, and in the past seven years Belgium had made grants to them amounting to a sum equalling over GBP23.5 million. He appealed to the inhabitants of both countries to unite and face the future together.