King Charles III will on Wednesday begin the second day of his visit to Kenya after acknowledging loads of atrocities suffered by Kenyans during their struggle for independence from British colonial rule.
The British monarch said this as he commenced a four-day state visit to Kenya.
There had been repeated calls for the British monarch to officially apologise to a country Britain violently ruled for decades before Kenya’s hard-fought independence in 1963.
“The wrongdoings of the past are a cause of the greatest sorrow and the deepest regret,” Charles said during a state banquet.
“There were abhorrent and unjustifiable acts of violence committed against Kenyans as they waged… a painful struggle for independence and sovereignty – and for that, there can be no excuse.”
Many former British colonial citizens, particularly leaders of Kenya’s Nandi people, want Charles to openly apologise and support compensation for colonial-era abuses such as torture, killings, and land confiscation, much of which is still in British hands.
On his part, President William Ruto praised King Charles for his courage and readiness “to shed light on uncomfortable truths that reside in the darker regions of our shared experience”.
“The colonial reaction to African struggles for sovereignty, and self rule was monstrous in its cruelty,” Ruto said.
But he added: “While there has been efforts to atone for the death, injury, and suffering inflicted on Africans by colonial government, much remains to be done in order to achieve full reparations.”
According to the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), 90,000 Kenyans were killed or harmed during the 1952-1960 Mau Mau insurrection in central Kenya, while 160,000 were locked up.
Britain already expressed regret for the abuses and agreed to pay a compensation of 20 million pounds ($24 million) in 2013.