NAIROBI, Kenya Oct 31 – King Charles III visit to Kenya appears to have united President William Ruto and Opposition chief Raila Odinga who was among the dignitaries at the State House Banquet.
President Ruto and First Lady Racheal hosted a state banquet for King Charles and his wife Camila on their first of a state visit to Kenya.
Their Majesties arrived in Kenya on Monday night for a four-day state visit to Kenya, the first in Africa since King Charles ascended to the throne last year on the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth.
Odinga’s presence at State House during the King’s visit was particularly important given his frosty relations with President Ruto who defeated him in the August 2022 elections.
Odinga led a series of protests across the country in mid this year before the president formed a committee to address his grievances which does not include a power-sharing agreement.
Their Majesties are on a four-day visit to the country where the King is expected to acknowledge “painful aspects” of the UK’s colonial past.
The King and the Queen have an elaborate itinerary in Nairobi and Mombasa in the historic visit aimed at solidifying Kenya-UK relations.
On Tuesday, King Charles and Queen Camilla had a busy day that started with a ceremonial welcome event at State House, Nairobi where he received a 21-gun salute.
The King later held bilateral talks with President Ruto before he was taken to Uhuru Gardens where Kenya declared independence in 1963.
At Uhuru Gardens, the King and The Queen were taken on a tour of the museum to appreciate Kenya’s history.
The King was later taken to Eastlands Library which was built by the Council in 1969 and later visited the Nairobi Garage where he was wowed by the brains behind graffiti in the city.King Charles and Queen Camilla are crowning the day with a banquet at State House, Nairobi hosted by President William Ruto and First Lady Rachel.
The royal’s visit to Kenya is however, overshadowed by atrocities of the British government in the 1950’s when more than 10,000 people were killed and others tortured during the brutal suppression of the Mau Mau uprising.
Their Majesties will continue their state visit itinerary on Wednesday with several events lined up, including a tour of the United Nations.
They are also expected to visit the National Park to appreciate Kenya’s wildlife diversity before they head to Mombasa on Wednesday.
At the Coast, Her Majesty will spend time with survivors of gender-based violence, while His Majesty will engage with religious leaders who are working with UK-funded programs to promote community cohesion.
More than 10,000 people were killed and others tortured during the brutal suppression of the Mau Mau uprising in the 1950s, one of the British Empire’s bloodiest insurgencies.
The resistance group remained outlawed and was designated a terrorist organization by the colonial government and subsequent administrations in independent Kenya which did not overturn the ban.
It was only in 2003 that the law was changed, and members of the Mau Mau were finally recognized as freedom fighters.
The British government has expressed regret and paid the compensation to some of the Mau Mau veterans but remains for the King to publicly apologize and offer more reparations.
Rights groups and survivors have exerted pressure since last week, demanding a public apology and reparations in billions.