King Charles III of the United Kingdom addressed the people of Kenya, expressing his deep regret for the colonial sins committed against Kenyans during their struggle for independence.
State Banquet: Ruto's humour, Raila's presence, DP's absence, King's apology & more
Highlights you missed from the State Banquet that President Ruto hosted in honour of King Charles III & Queen Camilla at State House, Nairobi
The King's speech, delivered partly in a mixture of English and Swahili, marked a significant moment in the ongoing efforts to acknowledge and address the painful chapters of history.
During a banquet held in honor of the royal couple, President William Ruto lightened the atmosphere by joking about the usual political battles for regional kingpins, stating that with the King's presence, all contests were temporarily suspended.
"In Kenya, there is a concept called kingpin, and there is a contest for kingpins around Kenya. Different regions have different kingpins, and there is a contest for this kingpin position, which literally amounts to not so much. But this week, all contests about kingpins have been suspended because the king himself is in town," President Ruto humorously remarked.
Despite the political rivalry between President Ruto and Raila Odinga, the attended the banquet and had a moment to speak to King Charles III.
This gesture showcased a rare moment of unity and respect, transcending political differences in the face of a royal visit.
However, notably absent was Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, who is out of the country on official duties.
With Ruto's right-hand man out of the country, the honour of helping the president welcome King Charles III fell on Prime CS in charge of Foreign Affairs Musalia Mudavadi, who enjoyed a seat at the high table.
DP Gachagua has been a very strong advocate of justice for Kenya's freedom fighters and families that were affected in the fight for independence.
King Charles III's speech at State House banquet
The King's speech expressed gratitude for the warm welcome and highlighted the special connection between the United Kingdom and Kenya.
He recalled the visits of his late parents, Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, to Kenya and shared personal anecdotes, including his son's proposal to his wife near Mount Kenya.
A notable part of the speech was the King's apology for the colonial injustices committed against Kenyans during their fight for independence.
He acknowledged the abhorrent acts of violence and expressed deep regret, emphasizing the need for an honest and open dialogue about the past.
"In coming back to Kenya, it matters greatly to me that I should deepen my own understanding of these wrongs, and that I meet some of those whose lives and communities were so grievously affected. None of this can change the past. But by addressing our history with honesty and openness, we can, perhaps, demonstrate the strength of our friendship today," King Charles III stated.
The King praised Kenya's efforts in addressing modern challenges, such as climate change and biodiversity loss, commending the country's leadership in hosting the Africa Climate Summit.
He highlighted the shared values and partnerships between the two nations, emphasizing the importance of working together for a sustainable and secure future.
The royal visit not only celebrated the strong ties between the United Kingdom and Kenya but also marked a significant step towards reconciliation and understanding of a complex historical relationship.
The King proposed a toast to President Ruto and the people of Kenya, echoing the sentiment of unity expressed in the national anthem.
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