The family of Dedan Kimathi, who was executed by the British administration, and relatives of other renowned Kenyan freedom fighters have not yet made any comments on the issue. In the past, they have demanded an apology, compensation from Britain, and information on the whereabouts of Kimathi’s remains.
The British High Commission disclosed that the meeting was an “opportunity for the king to hear firsthand about the violence committed against Kenyans during their struggle for independence.” The event was attended by the chair of the Mau Mau War Veterans Association. However, the matter remains a sensitive topic for many Kenyans, and police dispersed a small group of people protesting at the foot of a monument dedicated to Kimathi in Nairobi.
One of the protesters, Juliet Wanjira, from the Mathare Social Justice Center, urged the British government to return all the land under their control to the Kenyan people and to withdraw their military training mission from Kenya.
King Charles and Queen Camilla arrived in Kenya on Monday, October 31, marking his first state visit to a Commonwealth country as monarch. On Tuesday, Charles acknowledged the “abhorrent and unjustifiable acts of violence” committed against Kenyans as they sought independence. Still, he did not explicitly apologize for Britain’s actions in its former colony, which many Kenyans hoped for. The following day, Charles visited a war cemetery where he laid a wreath in honor of those who fought alongside the British in the two world wars. During his visit, he handed replacement medals to four war veterans who had lost theirs. One of the recipients was Cpl. Samwel Nthigai Mburia, who claims to be 117 years old. The other three recipients were privates John Kavai, Kefa Chagira, and Ezekiel Nyanjom Anyange. The cemetery has 59 graves and is located next to Kariokor market, which used to be the site of Nairobi’s Carrier Corps Depot, the administrative center through which soldiers heading to the front passed through. Charles also met with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission members and communities living near the cemetery.
On the roads leading to the war cemetery, at a walking distance from the central business district, authorities deployed heavy security including the army, an anti-terror police unit, elite units, and regular police.
Kenya is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its independence this year. It has had a close but at times challenging relationship with Britain after the prolonged struggle against colonial rule, sometimes known as the Mau Mau Rebellion, in which thousands of Kenyans were killed.
Colonial authorities executed and detained many without trial as they tried to put down the insurrection, and thousands of Kenyans said they were beaten and sexually assaulted by agents of the administration.