The visiting King Charles III expression of regret and sorrow for the past atrocities committed by the British government against Kenyans during their struggle for independence, labeling them as abhorrent and unjustifiable fell short of demands by outraged Kenyans as citizens’ demand much more.
The King, accompanied by Queen Camilla, made the remarks during a State Banquet hosted by President William Ruto and First Lady Rachel Ruto during their visit to Kenya yesterday evening.
But the King did not deliver a formal apology – which would have to be decided by government ministers. At the event, also attended by opposition chief Raila Odinga, King Charles III expressed his willingness to meet with those who were affected by the historical wrongs and apologize.
He emphasised the importance of both sides addressing historical injustices with honesty and openness.
As Kenya marks its 60th anniversary of independence, the King told his audience that he is deepening his understanding of those wrongs.
“It matters greatly to me that I should deepen my own understanding of these wrongs, and that I meet some of those whose lives and communities were so grievously affected.” He said.
In response, president Ruto praised the King’s courage for addressing such “uncomfortable truths”.
The Kenyan head of state told the King that colonial rule had been “brutal and atrocious to African people” and that “much remains to be done in order to achieve full reparations”.
Ahead of the King’s state visit to Kenya, the first to a Commonwealth country since the start of his reign, there had been speculation about a symbolic royal apology.
In the next few days, the state visit to Kenya will focus on ways in which Britain and Kenya are working together, including in tackling climate change and encouraging opportunities and employment for young people.
There will also be a meeting with faith leaders who will talk about building links between communities.