Nairobi — Kenya is a 20-year old republic, but it still appears to have a queen. For four days, Nairobi has been aflutter with Union Jacks and its streets full of cheering crowds as Queen Elizabeth II visited Kenya en route to the Commonwealth conference in New Delhi.
Both on the Queen's ''walkabout'' in Nairobi Saturday and on a 11/2 hour train ride to the little town of Thika, tens of thousands of Kenyans came out to greet her.
Why the fuss over the Queen in a country that has thrown off the colonial yoke?
There is (STR)1 billion ($1.5 billion) invested by Britain in Kenyan industry and commerce - more money than has been invested by any other country.
In addition, British aid to Kenya has totaled (STR)330 million since independence and trade has amounted to (STR)3 billion.
The United States may take in many Kenyan students, but Britain trains the men who make the sewers work and the waterworks function and helps the school librarians and science teachers to be more efficient. Britain spends (STR)4 million to train 600 Kenyans every year.
The British-financed Commonwealth Development Corporation pours money into Kenyan low-cost housing, and into agriculture and some of the big industries.
From the Queen's trip alone, Kenya expects to earn (STR)90 million in tourist-related ventures. Any misdeeds of the British colonialists have long been forgotten for pragmatic reasons.
There is a sentimental side to this visit, too. The Queen returned to Treetops Lodge near Mt. Kenya, the place she was staying 30 years ago when she was told that her father, King George VI, had passed on and she was now queen. She also visited the original Treetops, which on her first trip really was in a treetop.