NAIROBI: Charles III has arrived in Kenya for a state visit, his first as monarch to a Commonwealth country, raising high expectations as Britain is under pressure to confront its colonial past.
The four-day visit by the King, 74, and Queen Camilla, 76, comes just before Kenya celebrates 60 years of independence in December and “will highlight the strong and dynamic partnership between the UK and Kenya,” the British embassy said. in a statement.
It will “highlight the best of the country, its young tech entrepreneurs” as well as its “beautiful forests and coastline”, said the royal family’s official account on X (formerly Twitter).
But the royal couple’s visit will also allow them to discuss “the most painful aspects of Britain and Kenya’s shared history” in the years before independence, Buckingham Palace assured.
Between 1952 and 1960, more than 10,000 people were killed in Kenya following the Mau Mau rebellion against colonial rule, one of the bloodiest repressions in the British Empire.
After years of litigation, London in 2013 agreed to compensate more than 5,000 Kenyans, but some are waiting for the king to issue a formal apology for Britain’s past actions.
“We call on the King, in the name of the British government, to tender an unconditional and unequivocal public apology (…) for the brutal and inhumane treatment meted out to Kenyans during the colonial period”, between 1895 and 1963, recently This. called on KHRC, an independent human rights group.
The KHRC also demanded reparations “for all the atrocities committed against various groups in the country”, and cited, in addition to the repression of the Mau Mau, also land confiscation.
Following their arrival on Monday, Charles and Camilla will be received by President William Ruto in the capital Nairobi on Tuesday.
In this two-day program, meetings with businessmen, young people, a state banquet, a visit to the new museum dedicated to Kenyan history and the laying of wreaths at the tomb of the unknown soldier in Uhuru park.
The couple should then travel to Mombasa (south), where Charles, who is interested in environmental issues, will visit a nature reserve and meet with religious representatives.
After state visits to Germany and then to France, marking London’s desire for rapprochement with its European allies, Charles turned to the Commonwealth.
The remnants of the British empire uniting 56 countries, most of them former British colonies, are weakened by increasingly harsh criticism of Britain’s colonial past.
Kenya has a special place in the history of the British royal family. It was in this East African country that Charles’ mother learned of the death of his father George VI in 1952 and became queen.
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