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Security beefed up in Naivasha ahead of World Rally Championship

Security has been beefed up in the Lakeside town of Naivasha ahead of this year’s edition of the iconic World Rally Championship (WRC) which kicks off on Thursday March 28 to 31.

Rift Valley Regional Commissioner (RC) Abdi Hassan said that the government has put in place all the necessary measures to ensure the coveted motor sporting event will be successful and free from incidents.

Hassan said his security team has operationalised a security plan that will ensure that no ugly incidents are reported during this historic and iconic event which is the only one of its kind in Africa.

Briefing the press in Naivasha after chairing a security meeting, Hassan said the Kenya National Highways Authority (KENHA) has issued alternative routes for motorists traveling from Nairobi to the Western part of the country. This in a bid to avoid inconveniences brought about by traffic snarl ups experienced on the Nairobi-Nakuru highway in previous events.

Consequently, the administrator announced that four routes have been identified to be used by those who want to travel to Western Kenya during the WRC event in order to ease the traffic flow.

Route one; he said will start in Nairobi through Rironi – Flyover – Njambini through Olkalau – Oljororok and terminate at Lanet in Nakuru and Route two will similarly start in Nairobi through Rironi – Naivasha – Engineer through Olkalau – Oljororok and also terminate at Lanet in Nakuru,

Route three will also start in Nairobi through Thika – Magumu – Olkalau – Oljororok and end at Lanet, while the fourth route will likewise start in Nairobi but go through Ngong` town through Kibiku to Suswa then to Bomet.

The Regional Commissioner was emphatic that this programme commences from Friday to Monday in order to have smooth traffic flow because it is also an Easter holiday period and many people will be traveling.

“We have deployed enough contingents of security personnel to ensure law and order during the event and we urge all those who will be coming to witness the WRC event or traveling to follow all rules and instructions given by traffic officers in order to avoid traffic snarl-up,” Hassan said.

He also announced that the Moi Southlake road in Naivasha will be closed from the usual motorists from Saturday at 10am to 10pm on Sunday, as the road will be used by the rally cars.

“We will also not allow selling of anything and especially alcohol in vehicles along the same Moi-Southlake Road during the rallying event,” the RC proclaimed.

He also declared that parking on the side of the Nairobi-Nakuru highway, all the way up to Pipeline in Nakuru will not be allowed and any vehicle found parked will be towed away and action taken against the owner.

Meanwhile, the lakeside town of Naivasha is awash with activity as local and international tourists flock into the town to witness the iconic World Safari Rally Championships (WRC), which kicks off on Thursday, March 28 to 31.

Kenya is privileged and proud to host this event which is one of the only 13 such world events that take place in the World and the only one in Africa for the fourth time running, after a nearly two-decade hiatus and the motorsport will be watched by over two billion people worldwide which is a boundless branding for the country.

President William Ruto will flag off the event at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre on Thursday and after flag off the motorcade will proceed to Kasarani National stadium for a short exhibition and afterwards, head to Service Park in Naivasha which is the nerve centre of the event.

The event which takes various routes in Naivasha namely; Malewa, Loldia, Elementaita, Soysambu with various spectator stages set along the routes and terminate at the Hells` Gate National Park, where various closing events, including celebrating the winners will be held.

Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Assistant Director Joseph Dadacha who was among the security team that accompanied the RC said measures have been put in place to ensure those who attend the event do not pollute the environment at the Hells` Gate National Park, where various closing events, including celebrating will be held.

The Safari Rally was first held in 1953, as the East African Coronation Safari in Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika as a celebration of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. In 1960 it was renamed the East African Safari Rally and kept that name until 1974, when it became the Kenya Safari Rally. It then evolved to the current modern-day WRC.

By Mabel Keya-Shikuku 

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