Human rights activists hold signs and chant slogans during a demonstration against the visit of King Charles III to Kenya, on October 30, 2023 in Nairobi © AFP – LUIS TATO
But the movement of Charles, 74 years old, and Queen Camilla, 76 years old, will also make it possible to evoke “the most painful aspects of the common history of the United Kingdom and Kenya” in the years preceding independence, assured Buckingham Palace .
Between 1952 and 1960, more than 10,000 people were killed in Kenya following the Mau Mau revolt against colonial power, one of the bloodiest repressions of the British Empire. Thirty-two settlers were also killed.
After years of litigation, London agreed in 2013 to compensate more than 5,000 Kenyans, but some are waiting for the king to issue a formal apology for Britain's past actions.
>- “Unequivocal apology” –
“We call on the King, on behalf of the British Government, to issue an unconditional and unequivocal public apology (…) for the brutal and inhumane treatment inflicted on Kenyan citizens throughout the colonial period”, between 1895 and 1963, a recent called on the KHRC, an independent human rights group.
The KHRC also called for reparations “for all atrocities committed against the different groups in the country”, mentioning, in addition to the repression of Mau Mau, land grabbing.
A Nairobi Municipality employee unloads a vehicle carrying flags of Kenya and the United Kingdom, on October 30, 2023 in Nairobi © AFP – LUIS TATO
Arriving in Nairobi on Monday evening, Charles III and Camilla are to stay for two days in the Kenyan capital with the program: meeting with entrepreneurs, young people, state banquet, visit to a new museum dedicated to the history of Kenya and placing a wreath on the tomb of the unknown soldier in the “Uhuru gardens”.
The couple must then go to the port city of Mombasa (south) , where Charles, attached to environmental issues, will visit a nature reserve and meet 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.
Hundreds of arrested Kenyans await be interrogated after the massacre of 200 Kiyuku loyalists in March 1953 near Nairobi © INTERCONTINENTALE – –
This vestige of the British empire which brings together 56 countries, most of them former British colonies, is weakened by increasingly strong criticism of the United Kingdom's colonial past.
Others Visits by members of the royal family to former colonies have caused a stir. In the Caribbean last year, Prince William and Kate were called to apologize for the United Kingdom's slavery past.
© AFP – Ben Stansall < p>Kenya holds a special place in the history of the British royal family. It was in this country that Charles's mother, Elizabeth II, learned of the death of her father George VI in 1952 and became queen.
The last state visit of a British sovereign in Kenya dates back to November 1983, under Elizabeth II.
All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2023) Agence France-Presse