Raila Odinga reveals his friendship with King Charles at State House dinner

Britain's King Charles III (left), President William Ruto (centre) and Azimio leader Raila Odinga during a dinner at State House, Nairobi on Tuesday, October 31, 2023. [Standard,file]

Azimio leader Raila Odinga has disclosed that he was invited by Britain's King Charles III to a dinner held at State House, Nairobi on Tuesday, October 31.

The dinner was hosted by President William Ruto in honour of the visiting royals, who were on a four-day tour in the country.

Odinga revealed this on Wednesday, November 1, at Tamarind Hotel, where he launched the Mau Mau Freedom Fighters Foundation, Website and Memoir.

He said that he and King Charles III are personal friends and had worked together on environmental projects in the country.

"I was invited by King Charles III to the dinner at State House. He is a personal friend and we have worked with him and his Foundation in rehabilitating Lake Naivasha which was polluted and marine life was dying," said Odinga.

Odinga narrated how they met in Oslo, Norway with the then Prime Minister of Norway and discussed possible projects that the King's Foundation could support in Kenya. They settled on four projects, including Mau conservation, Aberdares, Nairobi River and Lake Naivasha.

"Then the King organized a dinner in his residence in London, I went with a delegation from Kenya and he invited companies in UK which market Kenyan flowers and immediately that evening with former minister Sally Kosgei we had a pledge of 600,000 sterling pounds (Sh109.8 million) from companies," he said.

"By morning, it was 1 million sterling pounds, then he talked to Dutch government and gave us 6 million Euros (Sh915.6 million) for rehabilitation of Lake Naivasha. And the Lake was rehabilitated, thanks to King Charles III."

At the State House banquet, Odinga, who was accompanied by Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi, Council of Governors Chairperson Anne Waiguru among other leaders.

On their first day visit to Kenya, the King and Queen Camilla visited the Uhuru Gardens National Monument and Museum, where King and President Ruto laid a wreath in honour of independence-era freedom fighters.

The royalty was also taken through the country's pre and post-independence un-edited history, which included visiting a camp of martyrs that symbolizes a place of remembrance, healing and renewal.

His Majesty and President Ruto then laid wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, dedicated to honour freedom fighters and liberators who contributed to Kenya's unity, peace and liberty.