Heavy rains hit final day of royal tour in Kenya

By - RFI
NOV 3, 2023 LISTEN

King Charles III's final day in Kenya on Friday was disrupted by heavy rains and floods as he toured the historic heart of the Indian Ocean city of Mombasa.

The inclement weather derailed plans for Charles and Queen Camilla to ride in an electric tuktuk to Fort Jesus, a 400-year-old UNESCO World Heritage site in Mombasa's Old Town.

Instead, the royal couple briefly posed for photographs inside the three-wheeler vehicle, which was decorated in a bold African pattern and a Union Jack logo.

Kenya's coast and other parts of the country have been battered by torrential rains and sometimes raging floods in recent days.

The UN's humanitarian agency, OCHA, said last month that eastern Africa would likely encounter heavier than normal rains over the October-December period because of the El Nino phenomenon.

El Nino is a naturally occurring pattern associated with increased heat worldwide, as well as drought in some parts of the world and heavy rains elsewhere.

King Charles has long been a fervent environmentalist and his programme on the four-day state visit to Kenya has focused on efforts to combat climate change, as well as support for creative arts, technology and young people.

"Left unchecked, global warming, biodiversity loss and climate change are challenges which threaten us all and can only be met by the whole of society working together in the spirit of action, partnership and commitment," he said at the UN office in Nairobi this week.

The visit to Kenya has however stirred mixed emotions in the former colony, with calls for the king to apologise for Britain's brutal crackdown on the nation's independence struggle.

At a state banquet on Tuesday, the 74-year-old monarch said the "wrongdoings of the past are a cause of the greatest sorrow and the deepest regret," but stopped short of an apology.

At least 10,000 people -- mainly from the Kikuyu tribe -- were killed when colonial-era authorities brutally suppressed the Mau Mau uprising between 1952-1960, although some put the true figures much higher.

Tens of thousands more were rounded up and detained without trial in camps where reports of executions, torture and vicious beatings were common.

On Friday, Charles visited Mombasa's Mandhry Mosque and the Memorial Cathedral, where he joined an interfaith meeting.