Kenyans are demanding that Britain’s King Charles III apologise for colonial-era atrocities in Kenya when he visits the country in October 2023.
According to an official statement from Buckingham Palace, King Charles III, accompanied by his wife, Queen Camilla, will visit Kenya from October 31 to November 3. This tour will be his inaugural trip to a Commonwealth country since ascending to the throne last year.
“If he is not coming to apologise for the atrocities they did to us, then he should not come to Kenya,” 53-year-old accountant John Otieno stated.
Buckingham Palace further noted that the king’s visit to Kenya will commemorate the warm relationship between the two nations as Kenya prepares to celebrate its 60th anniversary of independence from Britain and to also acknowledge the painful aspects of their shared history, including the 1952–1960 Emergency.
“His Majesty will take time during the visit to deepen his understanding of the wrongs suffered in this period by the people of Kenya,” the palace added.
About 10,000 people were killed during Britain’s violent repression of the Mau Mau rebellion, one of the most brutal insurgencies in British history.
In a contract costing approximately 20 million pounds (about $25 million at today’s exchange rates), Britain agreed in 2013 to compensate over 5,000 Kenyans who had suffered violence during the insurrection.
According to Evelyn Wanjugu Kimathi, the daughter of the renowned resistance commander Dedan Kimathi, “We are hoping that he will bring a national apology,” adding that she hopes the visit will lead to closure.
Kimathi, who heads a foundation promoting the interests of independence war veterans, hopes that the UK government will support Kenya in identifying the graves of freedom fighters, including her father, who was hanged in 1957 but whose remains have yet to be found. She believes that goodwill from the UK will ensure everything is okay.
According to Otieno, British soldiers at a training camp near Nanyuki, a town about 200 kilometres (120 miles) north of Nairobi, continue to do bad things to Kenyans living in Nanyuki and go unpunished.
Kenya’s parliament has launched an investigation into the British troops’ activities, including the 2012 murder of a young mother, Agnes Wanjiru, who was found dead in a septic tank after partying with them in Nanyuki.
Mwangi Macharia, the chairman of the African Centre for Corrective and Preventive Action, which initiated the legal proceedings on behalf of the Wanjiru family, expressed his intent to pursue justice.
He said he wanted King Charles III to be informed about the Wanjiru case and a 2021 fire in an area used for training by the British troops that ravaged about 12,000 acres (4,800 hectares) of land.