Letter: Britons who served Africa

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The Independent Online
Sir: Andrew Marshall ("Heart of prejudice", 20 November) is certainly right in one respect: those of us who went out to Africa had high hopes and a belief that we were going to do good. The remainder of his article ignores the achievements of a handful of administrators, doctors, nurses, teachers, agriculturists and others in the 1940s and 1950s. This was an era of peace, justice, security and development, both economic and political.

We gladly pursued the British government's objectives of granting independence to countries such as Uganda, where I served in the administration from 1955 to 1963. It may be that Uganda could have been better prepared for independence if we had been more positive in the 1950s in planning a timetable for a reasonable period of self-government leading to independence in the late 1960s or early 1970s. However, Mr Macmillan gave in to pressures from left-wingers and the Americans and ordered us to cut and run from East Africa in the early 1960s.

Nevertheless, older Ugandans today, as their country recovers from the regimes of Amin and Obote, remember our years with gratitude. Now, under President Museveni, there are once again high hopes for Uganda's future.


Poyntington, Dorset