King Charles III says ‘no excuse’ for British colonial atrocities in Kenya

King Charles III said Tuesday October 31 there could be “no excuse” for British colonial atrocities against Kenyans as he visited the country. However, he stopped short of offering the apology that many Kenyans had been hoping for.


“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,” Charles said at a state banquet hosted by Kenyan President William Ruto.

He added, “In coming back to Kenya, 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 also said he would visit the Kariokor War Grave Cemetery where he would honor Kenyans and other Africans who died in two world wars. “We must ensure all are granted the remembrance befitting their service,” he said, adding “the wrongdoings of the past are a cause of the greatest sorrow and the deepest regret. There were abhorrent and unjustifiable acts of violence committed against Kenyans.”

Charles’ silence

Earlier, he and his wife Queen Camilla visited a number of sites across the capital Nairobi, but neither addressed the demands or concerns of civil groups and families who have been trying to press their case for compensation for injustices they suffered when the country was under British rule.

Some Kenya civil groups as well as victims of British rule have described the ‘’silence’’ of the King on the first day of his visit as “an indignity” and called on him to apologize for the wrongs the British did to Kenyans.

Peaceful protests took place in the highlands where the colonialists displaced people to pave the way for tea and coffee farming.

Peter Bett, a leader of the Pareywot Group – a civil group championing pushing for justice for the Kipsigis and Borowo Communities in Kenya’s Rift Valle – called on the King to immediately apologize to the community and visit the communities impacted by British rule. “It is important that the King acknowledges and apologizes for the painful past characterized by British brutality …This is a vital step in acknowledging the historical injustices and fostering reconciliation,” Bett said.

“[An] apology should express remorse for the suffering endured by Kenyans under colonial rule and recognize the enduring consequences of those actions.”

He added that such an apology would pave the way for a dialogue and create a framework for compensation. ‘’Such an apology would not only be a moral imperative but also a means to promote healing and reconciliation between the peoples of Kenya and the United Kingdom. It would demonstrate a commitment to addressing historical wrongs and working towards a more just and equitable future.’’

In Kiambu county, victims of the Mau Mau uprising that fought against British under whose rule more than 10,000 Kenyans lost their lives have called on the British High Commissioner to Kenya to submit their demands to the King. Those demands include compensation for the land injustices, unlawful detention, killings, and disappearances of their forefathers. “We don’t know where some of our freedom fighters were buried, we want their remains back, we demand an apology as well.’’ said Macharia George Kath,  chairman of Kiambu War victims, said in an interview. 

Too difficult to apologize 

In a media interview with Spice FM, one of Kenya’s top FM stations on 24 October ahead of the visit, the UK High Commissioner to Kenya, Neil Wigan, confessed that it was too difficult to issue an apology. ‘’An apology starts to take you to a difficult legal territory, and settlements were made out of court, so it showed our sincerity and openness in recognizing the abuses that were committed. That is the route we chose and was accepted by the Mau Mau War Veterans Association.’’  

In 2013, Britain agreed to compensate more than 5,000 Kenyans who had suffered abuses during the Mau Mau revolt. 

The visit, which began on Tuesday, October 31 is the 74-year-old British head of state’s first tour of an African and Commonwealth nation since becoming king last year and comes just weeks before Kenya celebrates the 60th anniversary of independence in December.

Buckingham Palace said in October that Charles would take time to “deepen his understanding of the wrongs suffered” by Kenyans during colonial rule.

On Sunday, the Kenya Human Rights Commission had urged him to make an “unequivocal public apology… for the brutal and inhuman treatment inflicted on Kenyan citizens,” and pay reparations for colonial-era atrocities.

After Nairobi, King Charles Philip Arthur George III and Queen Camilla would meet religious leaders in Kenya’s coastal city Mombasa and paid a visit to the Kenya Marines Training camp.


Posted by on Nov 12 2023. Filed under top stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply