President Ruto's speech during dinner with King Charles III

I am delighted to have the opportunity, once more, to convey to you what an honour it is to receive and host you in Kenya as you make your fifth visit, and the first since your coronation. It is our hope that through our world-renowned hospitality and the Kenyan people's spirit of enterprise and innovation, as well as the land's scenic beauty and touristic charm, our country will live up to its reputation as Magical Kenya and exceed your expectations.

In due course, you will have occasion to tour many areas of great personal significance for you and your family, and many others of equal historical importance for both our countries. You will witness the immense accomplishments made by Kenya and the United Kingdom during six decades of strong, dynamic and fruitful bilateral relations, as well as less exemplary events, which took place over seven decades ago.

We note, with deep admiration, your commitment to theconservation of biodiversity and climate action, the youth and innovation. We know you intend to continue on your visionary path of progressive and futuristic leadership in restoring the vitality of our planet and promoting shared prosperity in the Commonwealth and beyond.

A good example is the Mau Forest Complex, a water tower forming the catchment area for the Mara River that supports the world-famous Maasai Mara ecosystem and which was admitted to the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy Programme in 2020.

We also note with appreciation your expression of willingness to acknowledge the painful aspects of our shared history. Your exemplary courage and readiness to shed light on uncomfortable truths that reside in the darker regions of our shared experience are also commendable. This is a highly encouraging first step, under your leadership, to deliver progress beyond tentative and equivocal half measures of past years.

We are therefore confident that, under your visionary leadership, the Kenya-United Kingdom relations will continue to prosper for the benefit of our two countries and peoples. We also note your commitment to the Commonwealth and the will to sustain the transformational momentum to make it an exemplary community of nations distinguished by unity of purpose, inclusive progress and shared prosperity.

Your visit therefore provides us with an opportunity to close ranks within the Commonwealth family in order to provide an inspiring beacon of hope in the possibility of transformative collective action on an ambitious, global scale.

Our confidence is further borne out by the fact that you are a veteran visionary, who desired long ago that global development should take into account environmental sustainability and, as early as 1970, spoke about the menace of pollution and climate change with an urgency and intensity now associated with climate action activists and the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Your Majesty, although it has been indicated that Kenya and the United Kingdom are celebrating 60 years of diplomatic relations, this by no means implies that our peoples were total strangers before that. Neither does it mean that we live in denial of history. We cannot live as prisoners of the past. Neither can we go far into the future if we turn our backs on historical actions and omissions whose legacies encumber our present.

As a matter of fact, formal British presence in Kenya was proclaimed in 1897 by an order-in-council, which inaugurated European settlement and the displacement, dispossession and disenfranchisement of native Africans, paving the way for a brutal colonialism. If colonialism was brutal and atrocious to African people, colonial reaction to African struggles for sovereignty and self-rule was monstrous in its cruelty. It culminated in the Emergency, which intensified the worst excesses of colonial impunity and the indiscriminate victimization of Africans. While there have been efforts to atone for the death, injury and suffering inflicted on Kenyan Africans by the colonial government, much remains to be done in order to achieve full reparations.

I am optimistic that through the Kenya-UK partnership, we shall keep up our endeavour to inspire the change we hope for by making people and their well-being the fundamental consideration in our pursuit of trade and investment, defence and security, conservation and climate action, research, development and innovation as well as our work of designing a future that works for present generations and distant posterity.

I trust that this visit, focused on community, sustainability and innovation as pillars of progress, will inspire Your Majesty to forge ahead with a strong vision for stronger Kenya-United Kingdom partnership, and of the Commonwealth as a beacon of hope for humanity in a sustainable, prosperous future for all in a green and clean planet.

I wish you great success on this visit, and much delight during your stay in Kenya. May your leadership inspire many to do their part in making our nations more prosperous and our planet more livable for humanity and all forms of life which share it with us.

Let us drink to the long life and good health of His Majesty King Charles III, and Her Majesty Queen Camilla, and to enduring bonds of friendship and partnership for the shared prosperity of the people of our two great nations.

By AFP 2 hrs ago
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