United Kingdom’s King Charles III lands in Kenya as Kikuyu elders demand apology and compensation for atrocities committed against the community

King Charles III arrived in Kenya on Monday night for a 4-day official visit, the first outside Europe after his coronation in May this year and the maiden African visit.

The King who will engage in a series of events and meet the people occasions in Nairobi and Mombasa was officially received today by his host President Ruto at State House, Nairobi where he inspected a guard of honour.

A dispatch from the British Government said the King’s visit is at the invitation of President Ruto and comes as Kenya prepares to celebrate 60 years of independence.

“His Majesty’s first visit to a commonwealth nation as King is therefore to the country in which Queen Elizabeth II’s reign began, having acceded to the throne in Kenya in February 1952.

The King’s programme will reflect ways in which Kenya and United Kingdom are working together, notably to boost mutual prosperity, tackle climate change, promote youth opportunity and employment, advance sustainable development and create more stable and secure region.

Ahead of his visit, Kikuyu elders under Kiama Kia Ma, issued a statement welcoming the British Monarch to Kenya but listed a long list of grievances they want him to address.

The statement signed by the national chairman Ndung’u Gaithuma recalled that Kenya was declared a British Colony in 1895 and thereafter native land was forcefully taken to settle white settlers and in so doing the natives(us) we were pushed to concentration camps and colonial villages.

He said the colonial government through deliberate actions suppressed the Agikuyu culture, by labeling our longstanding Gikuyu Moral Law as primitive and backward, banning cultural practices, the most conspicuous, was the Ituika of 1928-29

Gaithuma listed the the atrocities committed against the Agikuyu people as;

  • The forceful eviction of the Agikuyu from our native land and settlement in colonial villages,
  • The Agikuyu were forced to work as labourers on settlers farms with meagre compensation and also subjected to pay hut tax in British coin.
  • The dehumanizing violent response against armed struggle for independence included detention without trial and mass murder of Agikuyu people mainly the youth that reduced the Gikuyu population by almost half.
  • Labeling of the Mau Mau Freedom Fighters as terrorists.
  • The arrests and detention of men, women, and children in detention camps, the worst of all Camp Langata.
  • The Agikuyu young men were forcefully recruited by the British to fight for them in foreign countries during the first World War(1914 to 18) and second World War(1939 to 45). Most of these young people never came back home. The estimated number of young men taken to fight and never came back is over 200,000.
  • False trials and conviction of Agikuyu Men and women on allegations of oathing.
  • Operation Anvil was the worst atrocity against the agikuyu and the mass murders that followed the aftermath of Lari massacre.

He said the British have never apologized to Kenyans and particularly the Agikuyu over these crimes against humanity despite persistent efforts.

Gaithuma said the Agikuyu community through their elders are demanding that;

  1. Compensation for our land that was taken from our 10 clans. See: Carter Commission of 1932 among other documents documenting the same.
  2. Appropriate compensation to the Mau Mau Freedom  Fighters.
  3. Compensation to Agikuyu  families whose young men were forcefully recruited to fight in the first and second world war.
  4. We demand to be shown Dedan Kimathi’s grave so that we accord him a decent burial for his role as Freedom fighter.
  5. 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.

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