”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 could be no excuses,” —— King Charles III
United Kingdom’s King Charles III says Britain regrets the atrocities committed in Kenya but failed to offer an apology as demanded by Kikuyu Council of Elders and Mau Mau veterans.
Instead, King Charles III said he would seek to deepen his understanding of the wrongs and meet some of those lives and communities who were grievously affected adding that nothing could change the past.
The King however said Britian acknowledged, ”the painful times of our long and complex relationship. The wrongdoings of the past are a cause to the greatest solemn and deepest regrets. 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 could be no excuses.”
The King went to talk on how Kenya and Great Britain have formed strong partnership in the past and the need to strengthen it.
He said while no one could change the past, he said by addressing the shared history with honesty and openness, ”we can perhaps demonstrate the strength of our friendship today and in so doing build a closer bond for years to come.
Kikuyu elders through their association Kiama Kia Ma had listed a list of grievances that they wanted addressed by King Charles III including a call for an apology and compensation.
Through their chairman Ndungu Gaithuma, the elders said colonial government led by King Charles III mother Queen Elizabeth II, through deliberate actions suppressed the Agikuyu culture, by labeling the longstanding Gikuyu Moral Law as primitive and backward and banning cultural practices.
He said the Agikuyu faced forceful eviction from their native land and forced into colonial villages and were forced to work as labourers on settlers farms with meagre compensation and also subjected to pay hut tax in British coin.
Gaithuma said during the struggle for independence the Agikuyu were met with dehumanizing violence that included detention without trial and mass murder of mainly the youth that reduced the Gikuyu population by almost half.
He said the British have never apologized to Kenyans and particularly the agikuyu over these crimes against humanity despite persistent demands and that King Charles had an opportunity to correct the wrongs.
Gaithuma listed the following demands;
- Compensation for our land that was taken from our 10 clans. See: Carter Commission of 1932 among other documents documenting the same.
- Appropriate compensation to the Mau Mau Freedom Fighters.
- Compensation to Agikuyu families whose young men were forcefully recruited to fight in the first and second world war.
- We demand to be shown Dedan Kimathi’s grave so that we accord him a decent burial for his role as Freedom fighter.
- An unequivocal apology from the British and a declaration that the Mau Mau were not a terrorists organisation but African Heroes who sacrificed their lives to liberate their motherland.