King Charles of Britain started a four-day state visit to Kenya on Tuesday, highlighting the country’s tainted colonial past. He was expected to address “painful aspects” of their long shared history as local leaders pressed for restitution.
Charles arrived in Nairobi’s capital overnight with the help of Queen Camilla on his first visit to a former colony as king.
He was greeted at the Presidential Palace on a soggy morning with a guard of honor and a 21-gun salute. He also planted trees on the palace grounds with President William Ruto. Following that, the royal couple placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in Uhuru Gardens, the site of Kenya’s December 1963 declaration of independence.
Charles’ visit takes place when ex-colonies are pressuring Britain to acknowledge the wrongdoings of its colonial past more fully. Certain states, most notably Barbados and Jamaica, have begun reassessing their monarchical connections.
Charles, still the heir apparent, shocked many at the Commonwealth summit last year by admitting that slavery played a part in the founding of the voluntary association of nations that sprang from the British Empire.
Charles could go beyond by personally apologizing and supporting compensation for the horrors of the colonial past, such as deaths, torture, and extensive seizure of property, most of which is still in British hands. Many former British colonists, notably the leaders of Kenya’s Nandi, urged Charles to do just that.
The visit, according to Buckingham Palace, will “acknowledge the more painful aspects of the shared history between the UK and Kenya, including the Emergency (1952–1960)”. It will take some time for His Majesty to fully comprehend the wrongs that the Kenyan people have endured throughout this time.”
“FOLLOWING APOLOGIES… REPAIRS”
The Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) has estimated that during the 1952–1960 Mau Mau insurrection in central Kenya, around 90,000 Kenyans were murdered or injured, and 160,000 were incarcerated.
The UK government agreed to a 20 million pound ($24 million) payment in 2013 and has previously expressed sorrow for such acts.
Nandi King Koitalel Arap Samoei led a ten-year insurrection before he died in 1905 at the hands of a British colonel. The British seized the majority of his people’s land and livestock in the years that followed.
Kipchoge araap Chomu, the great-grandson of Samoei, acknowledged that the British had contributed to Kenya’s public health and education institutions. Still, he also stated that historical injustices needed to be made right.
“We have to demand a public apology from the government of the British…” he stated to Reuters. “After apologies, we also expect a reparation.”
Charles also intends to see wildlife facilities, meet businesspeople from Kenya’s thriving tech community, and visit Mombasa, a port city in the southeast.