Neil Wigan, the British High Commissioner to Kenya, has justified his country’s position regarding issuing an apology to Kenya for the atrocities committed during the colonial era.
During an interview on Spice FM on Tuesday, October 24, the UK High Commissioner said that Britain had acknowledged and expressed deep regret for the injustices during the emergency period and had reached out-of-court settlements with some victims.
However, he stated that issuing a formal apology is an extremely challenging prospect.
“We chose the language carefully, we expressed deep regret, we said it in Parliament. We said it in the most public way. We have engaged very closely with the Mau Mau veterans affected and paid compensation individually. We also helped arrange for the monument that sits in Uhuru Park, Nairobi,” Amb Wigan said.
Adding: “We’ve been very open about those difficult parts of our history.”
When pressed for why Britain has not apologized to Kenya, the High Commissioner explained that offering an apology would create a challenging legal situation for the UK government.
“We haven’t made an apology really in any context, it is an extremely difficult thing to do. What we think we want to do is to acknowledge the difficult bits of history, and talk about them openly both to affected countries and to individuals and communities.
“An apology starts to take you into difficult legal territory so to say, and the agreement we made was an out-of-court settlement so it showed our sincerity and openness about recognizing that abuses had been committed. That was the route that we chose and it was accepted by the Mau Mau Veterans Association,” Wigan explained.
Wigan’s comments come ahead of the imminent visit of King Charles III and Queen Camilla to Kenya. They are expected in the country on an official state visit starting from Tuesday, October 31st, to Friday, November 3rd, 2023.
Hear it from the horse’s mouth in the video below, courtesy of Spice FM.
Why it’s “difficult” for Britain to apologise to Kenya for colonial atrocities.
— SpiceFM (@SpiceFMKE) October 24, 2023