Kenya: Nyong’o Decries U.S. Embassy’s Security Alert for ‘Singling Out Kisumu’

Nairobi — The Kisumu County Government has protested the travel advisory issued by the US Embassy to its citizens over the likelihood of the violence in the lakeside city after the Supreme Court ruling slated for Monday.

John Oywa, who is in charge of the public information and communication in the county, said in a statement Friday that Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o’s administration does not expect any form of violence whatever the outcome of the Supreme Court on the August 9 Presidential Elections results.

“As much as we acknowledge the Country’s concern on the safety of its citizens, we take exceptional concern at the tone of the memo which singles out Kisumu and suggests that the City could witness violence after the 5th September Supreme court ruling on the Presidential election petition,” Oywa said on the security alert issued Thursday.

He reiterated that Kisumu is a “multiracial and multi-ethnic peaceful community that cares deeply for each other’s welfare, including our American sisters and brothers.”

Oywa called on the residents to remain calm regardless of the outcome of the Supreme Court ruling.

“The County leadership urge the people of Kisumu, especially the youth, to remain peaceful as has been the case in the past few years,” he said.

In its advisory, the US Government announced it had imposed movement restrictions on its personnel in Kisumu as a precautionary measure, arguing that Kenya has occasionally experienced post-election violence during election cycles.

“Election-related demonstrations and rallies regularly take place after elections, at times blocking key intersections and causing traffic jams,” the advisory read in part.

The Embassy warned that the protests could turn violent at times, necessitating police intervention, and urged its citizens to remain vigilant as Kenyans await the final ruling from the country’s apex court.

As part of the safety precautions, the US Embassy advised its citizens to avoid crowds, review their personal security plans and beware of their surroundings.

On August 3, the Embassy issued a similar travel advisory urging American citizens to avoid traveling to Kisumu before the now concluded General Election.

While a section of Kenyans and leaders have protested the earlier travel advisory, the US Ambassador to Kenya, Meg Whitman, said the advisory was in the best interest of the US and its investments.

“What we do is to look into the safety and security of Embassy personnel as well as US citizens in any country where the US operates,” Whiteman said Tuesday when she made her first tour outside Nairobi to visit US Embassy staff heading critical US programs and investments in the lakeside city of Kisumu.


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