Kenyans urge King Charles to formally apologize for colonial-era abuses

King Charles III didn’t get the warmest of welcomes when he arrived in Kenya on Monday for a four-day state visit.

Calls are mounting for the British monarch to issue a heartfelt apology for colonial-era abuses as he and Queen Camilla tour the East African country.

The tour is his first to a Commonwealth country since he succeeded his late mother, Queen Elizabeth, who died in September after seven decades in power.

Buckingham Palace announced that King Charles did “to acknowledge the most painful aspects of the UK’s and Kenya’s shared history,” which includes bloody Mau Mau Rebellion from the 1950s.

He planned to spend some time “deepening his understanding of the injustices suffered by the people of Kenya during this period,” the palace said in a statement.

Although Britain awarded Kenya around $25 million in compensation in 2013, it still has not apologized for “torture and other forms of ill-treatment by the colonial administration” – as it then was –This was stated by Foreign Secretary William Hague. “The British Government sincerely regrets that these abuses have occurred and that they have thwarted Kenya’s progress towards independence. Torture and ill-treatment are heinous violations of human dignity that we condemn unreservedly.”

Considered one of the most important steps to free Kenya from British rule, the Mau Mau armed groups rebelled against European settlers in the 1950s. Colonial authorities declared a state of emergency in response there are about 10,000 people left — mainly from the Kikuyu tribe — died during the crackdown.

Some Kenyans have openly urged King Charles to go a step further and apologize in a more formal way.

Human rights activists and former freedom fighters hold banners and chant slogans during a demonstration against the visit of Britain's King Charles III.  in Kenya, as activists and former freedom fighters gather on Mau Mau Road, a road named after the group that fought against colonial rule, in Nairobi on October 30, 2023. Britain's King Charles III.  and his wife Queen Camilla will be on a four-day state visit to Kenya on 31 October 2023, expected to be their first visit to the Commonwealth.  nation since their coronation.  (Photo: LUIS TATO / AFP) (Photo: LUIS TATO/AFP via Getty Images)

LUIS TATO/AFP via Getty Images

Human rights activists and former freedom fighters hold banners and chant slogans during a demonstration against the visit of Britain’s King Charles III on Monday. in Kenya.

“First of all, King Charles III, you must stop choking on those two words, ‘I’m sorry.’ You just cough them up,” Harvard University professor and author Caroline Elkins he wrote in his opinion for The Guardian Sunday.

“They will probably raise all sorts of liability issues for you and your government, but at the end of the day the monarchy is worth over £20 billion, so you might as well give a few pounds – some of which were stolen or earned on the backs of colonized people – to the British taxpayer to cover it. “

Evelyn Wanjugu Kimathi, whose father was one of the leaders of the Mau Mau uprising, said there was hope that King Charles would issue a “national apology”.

“Once we have goodwill from the British government, everything else will be fine,” she said French media agency early October.

On Monday, Kenyans gathered on Mau Mau Road holding signs reading “Down with colonization, down” and “Return our historic conquered land”.

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