23 FEBRUARY 2002, Page 35

African revival

From Mr Keith Arrowsmith Sir: John Papworth's sweeping diatribe against former colonial rule in Africa (Letters, 9 February) is unjustified. I was one of the last British district commissioners to serve in Uganda (the country referred to by Boris Johnson in his article 'Cancel the guilt trip', 2 February), and I remained in government service for two-and-a-half years after the country became independent.

At independence, Uganda, far from being a 'tinpot colonial creation', was a well-functioning country with promising prospects. Nor can it be said that its boundaries 'simply ignored tribal realities', a large area of the country comprising, as it did, the former kingdoms of Buganda, Toro and Bunyoro.

Sadly, the happy state of affairs in Uganda survived for only a few years. Its decline cannot, however, be attributed in any way to the 60 years of benign British administration. It is heartening that the country is now on the way to recovery.

Keith A rrowsmith

Crowborough, East Sussex