Nairobi (Agencies): King Charles has cited his “greatest sorrow and deepest regret” to the people of Kenya for abuses during the colonial period on behalf of the crown but stopped short of apologizing for the atrocities committed by British forces during the six-decade colonization.
Charles and Queen Camilla are currently on tour in the African country, marking their first visit to a Commonwealth country since Charles’ accession. The tour is meant to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Kenya’s independence, and many – including human rights’ activists – have been calling for an apology from the King while there on behalf of the Royal Family.
Kenya and Britain have had a close but at times challenging relationship after the prolonged struggle against colonial rule, sometimes known as the Mau Mau Rebellion, in which thousands of Kenyans died.
However, the apology has still not arrived, despite Charles touching on the subject at a state banquet hosted by Kenyan President William Ruto on Tuesday. At Tuesday’s dinner, Charles said there “can be no excuse” for the “wrongdoings of the past.” He said addressing them with honesty and openness could “continue to build an ever-closer bond in the years ahead.” The failure to issue a formal apology is being criticized by many Kenyans.
About half a million Kenyans were violently evicted from their ancestral lands under Britain’s colonial rule, UN experts estimate. Large swaths of land in the Kipsigis and Talai communities were handed over to British settlers, who developed the areas into tea plantations.
According to the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), the colonial administration masterminded the extrajudicial torture and killings of 90,000 Kenyans during that period.
The KHRC sent a 10-page document on Monday to the U.K. High Commission in Nairobi, urging Charles to apologize. “We are raising a number of concerns with respect to the unresolved injustices by the colonial government when they were in the country between 1895 and 1963,” said Davis Malombe, the rights group’s executive director, “and also the other atrocities, which have been committed by the British multinational corporations and other actors from that time to date.”