Celebratory mood has filled the lakeside town of Naivasha, just four days to the Christmas and subsequent New Year festivities.
Consequently, police have beefed up security in the town and its environs in readiness for the expected influx of both local and international tourists over the festive season.
Speaking to the press in Naivasha Wednesday, Naivasha Sub – County Commissioner (DCC) Mr. Mutua Kisilu said the sub county multi- sectoral security team under his chair have already assembled a contingent of security team consisting of 100 personnel drawn from the various sections of the Kenya Police Service and Kenya Prisons Service to maintain law and order during the season.
Kisilu said they will be focusing on insecurity prone areas of the area, including social places frequented by Wananchi during the season including clubs, hotels, supermarkets and churches in order to ensure safety of the people as they go about their businesses.
Some of the areas highlighted by the DCC include the Moi South Lake road, which houses the bulk of the famous tourist hotels in the area.
He said they will work with the hotel security teams in order to safeguard the revelers.
Meanwhile, the traffic police and National Transport and Safety Authority will also carry out 24 – hour patrols on the Nairobi – Naivasha – Nakuru highway enforcing the Highway Code to ensure Kenyans travel in safety.
“Our police officers will be on patrol 24 hours in order to ensure that the area is safe from criminals,” he said.
Kisilu also urged the residents to be more vigilant during the festive season when criminals are known to prey on unsuspecting members of the public and observe the Covid-19 Ministry of Health guidelines such as hand washing or sanitizing, wearing masks and social distancing, adding that the pandemic is still with us.
“We are not taking chances and want to assure the residents and our visitors to this lakeside town and elsewhere that they are safe and can enjoy their stay here,” Kisilu said.
He advised members of the public that if they must drink alcoholic drinks this season to consider taking a taxi home or be driven by a sober person for their own safety and that of other road users.
A spot-check at various tourist spots and hotels revealed that most of the hotels had so far recorded over 75 per cent bookings, while a few had recorded full occupancy for the season and they remained hopeful that business will further improve as the festivities edge closer.
Some of the hoteliers used this opportunity to call upon the government to reconsider its directive to downgrade the town of Naivasha from the first tier to the second tier, which essentially means subsistence allowances for civil and public servants when on a working tour of the town was reduced which the hoteliers citing reduced profits.
The manager of Sawela Lodges on South Lake road, Mr. George Ndung`u said Naivasha was a local and international tourist destination hub and the move by the Government to downgrade the town had affected their businesses.
Hylise Hotel Assistant General Manager Mr. Seeman Otanga also concurred.
But the hotel operators in Naivasha said things were looking up for them, compared to last year when the country was still in the shadows of Covid-19 pandemic.
“It appears this year Kenyans have a little more to spend this season as compared to last year which means good business for us,” Otanga said, adding that they have organized special events, activities and cuisines for their guests over the festivities.
A spot-check at the bus termini and shopping areas such as supermarkets also revealed a flurry of activities as Naivasha residents travel upcountry to share Christmas with loved ones, while others shopped in anticipation of the festivities.
By Mabel Keya-Shikuku and Erastus Gichohi