British Empire Article


Sir Edward Francis Twining


Sir Edward Francis Twining was promoted in 1949 to governor of Tanganyika, arriving in the trust territory as a newly appointed KCMG. He was governor of Tanganyika until 1958, that is for nearly nine of the last twelve years of British rule. These years were marked by a remarkably self-assured effort by the Tanganyika government to promote economic growth and to shape constitutional development in ways it judged most appropriate. To that end, Twining used the appointed native authorities, who were very often traditional chiefs, as the primary instruments for a major use of compulsion for the promotion of rural development. When these authorities demonstrated an increasing inability to win African acquiescence to the government's programmes, Twining moved to introduce elected local councils, confident that the British district officers would be able themselves to convince the councils of the wisdom of the government's initiatives.

A further and even more dubious example of the government's determination to impose its vision on post-war Tanganyika was its vigorous promotion of 'multi-racialism', that is, a sharing of political power between the African, Asian, and European communities in Tanganyika. They were, however, vastly disproportionate in size, Africans numbering over 7 million, Asians some 120,000, and Europeans 27,000. Twining devoted a good deal of his energy and time to promoting this multiracial policy. He sought to ensure to each of the minority communities the social institutions, including secondary schools, which he felt were legitimate and necessary to their continuation as separate racial communities; he gave equal representation to each community on the legislative council; he created a new multiracial tier of government between local councils and the central government; and he even required the appointment of non-African members to many African district councils. Under his leadership British constitutional policies in Tanganyika were thus in harmony with the very substantial efforts of the Colonial Office to entrench the position of the white minorities in each of the British colonies in eastern and central Africa. This effort would prove unworkable in each of these territories. That it was persistently pursued even in a country so undeniably African as Tanganyika is a measure of how out of touch the Colonial Office was with African political realities. Twining, unfortunately, was the governor who was called upon to devote his considerable talents to the impossible task of securing Tanganyikan acquiescence to this rejection of any prospect of eventual majority rule. Within several months of his replacement as governor by Sir Richard Turnbull, the effort was totally abandoned and Tanganyika was launched at breakneck speed towards its full independence in July 1961. Image courtesy of The National Archives


Tales From The African Bush




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