British King and Queen will visit Kenya
Britain’s King Charles III and Queen Camilla will travel to Kenya on October 31 for a four-day state visit, Buckingham Palace announced on Wednesday. The trip comes as a parliamentary investigation into atrocities allegedly committed by British troops in Kenya gets underway.
In August, the Kenyan government launched an inquiry to investigate allegations of murder, sexual assault, and damaging land, by the British Army Training Unit Kenya.
Kenyan MPs have issued a call for the public to submit petitions regarding any alleged crimes by British soldiers. Investigations are to begin this month with a report to the country’s parliament expected by the end of the year.
The best known case concerns the unsolved brutal murder in 2012 of Agnes Wanjiru, a 21-year-old hairdresser. Wanjiru's body was found in a hotel septic tank months after entering the premises with British soldiers. The incident made headlines after a chat between the soldiers, featuring hotel and septic tank memes, was pubilshed in UK media.
According to the chairman of the African Centre for Corrective and Preventive Action (ACCPA), James Mwangi, the victim's family wishes to see the alleged perpetrators be extradited to face justice in Kenya.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of Kenya’s independence from the UK. Relations between the two countries have historically been close, despite a colonial legacy that included instances of violence, such as the suppression of the Mau Mau uprising in the 1950s, in which thousands of Kenyans died. Charles III is reportedly expected to acknowledge the “painful aspects” of their shared history.
“The King and Queen will undertake a state visit to Kenya… to celebrate the warm relationship between the two countries and the strong and dynamic partnership they continue to forge,” according to Buckingham Palace, adding that “the King and Queen will visit Nairobi City County, Mombasa County and surrounding areas.”
The visit will also reportedly touch on the past. “His Majesty will take time during the visit to deepen his understanding of the wrongs suffered in this period by the people of Kenya,” Chris Fitzgerald, deputy private secretary to the King, claimed.
“The King and Queen’s programme will celebrate the close links between the British and Kenyan people in areas such as the creative arts, technology, enterprise, education and innovation,” Fitzgerald said.
He also stated that the monarch will meet with Kenyan President William Ruto to address issues such as defense and climate change.
The visit marks Charles III's first to a British Commonwealth nation since ascending the throne last September.
Charles took the throne after the death of Queen Elizabeth II last September.