- It made land laws and regulations that benefitted them and discriminated against indigenous African communities.
- It will be his fifth visit to the country but first as a King.
The news of the planned visit by King Charles III to Kenya may have been received with excitement especially this being the first to a commonwealth nation.
But, this is not the case for the Kipsigis community which has trekked a long journey in search for compensation from the British government for the forceful eviction from their lands.
The British government is alleged to have forcefully grabbed the lands during the pre-colonial period when Kenya became a British protectorate in 1895.
It made land laws and regulations that benefitted them and discriminated against indigenous African communities including Kipsigis.
Several efforts by leaders through petitions and law suits to have the nation issue a public apology and compensate families have not yielded any returns years since the quest for justice began.
In 2014, a petition was submitted to Kericho county by Kipsigis Community Clans Organisation, Kipsigis Talai Clan and Borowo and Kipsigis Self Help Group.
Early this year, Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot petitioned the Senate to remove all the land laws and regulations put in place by the British colonial administration.
Among the ancestral lands the white settlers reportedly forcefully took are those currently owned by Unilever Tea Kenya, James Finlay Kenya, George Williamson (Changoi and Lelsa), Sotik Tea, Sotik Highlands, Kaisugu Tea, Mau Tea, Koru and Fort Tenan both in Bomet and KerichoKenya and UK have continued to maintain their warm historical relations which date back to 19th century.
For King Charles III, the visit will be ‘emotional’ as it will evoke memories of a place his mother late Queen Elizabeth was before she ascended to the throne following the death of his father.
It will be his fifth visit to the country but first as a King.
As for the community, however, hope can only hold them.
“While we appreciate the visit as an opportunity to strengthen the bonds of friendship and cooperation between our two nations, we believe it is important to address historical injustices and foster a spirit of reconciliation between the people of Kenya and the UK,” Peter Bett said.
In a statement, Bett has also taken on the organisers for excluding the issue of historical injustices in the programme.
The issue of land evictions and brutality suffered during that period, he said, has left lasting scars on the communities.
“We respectfully seek clarification and understanding regarding why the state visit program does not incorporate meetings or discussions with these affected communities,” he said.
He said given the longstanding historical relationship between Kenya and UK, it would only be sensible if the grievances are addressed during the visit through a constructive dialogue as it is a significant step towards reconciliation and mutual understanding.
“We encourage and urge King Charles III and Queen Camilla to consider opportunities for meaningful engagement with representatives of the Borowo, Kipsigis and Talai communities,” he observed.
“Such interactions would provide a platform for addressing the historical injustices, hearing the voices of the affected communities, and fostering a spirit of healing and unity."