The United States of America (USA) Embassy in Nairobi has described the travel advisory placed against Kisumu as a routine security alert.
This follows a public outcry over the advisory issued on Tuesday with leaders calling on the US government to lift the alert.
In a statement issued by the Embassy Spokesperson on Wednesday, the US government said it was not privy to any information that Kisumu was likely to experience violence during next week’s general elections.
“Alerts of this nature to American citizens are common ahead of elections throughout the world and the United States has no information to suggest the security situation in Kisumu or any other parts of the country have been affected by election preparations,” read the statement in part.
The statement posted on the embassy’s official website clarified that the alert focused on Kisumu County since it plays host to numerous US embassy staff and that US citizens visit the lakeside city of Kisumu frequently.
The US Department of State, said the statement, had no greater responsibility than the safety and security of US citizens overseas and routinely issues security alerts surrounding elections, health conditions and extreme weather.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the embassy set movement restrictions and asked its citizens to only visit Kisumu if and when necessary.
The embassy also asked Americans to monitor local media for updates, avoid crowds, avoid demonstrations and be vigilant when visiting banks and ATMs.
“Out of an abundance of caution, the Embassy has imposed movement restrictions on personnel in Kisumu. The State Department reminds US citizens of the continued need for sustained vigilance,” the advisory read in part.
The decision elicited mixed reactions from a cross-section of leaders and residents of Kisumu who called for lifting of the alert.
Kisumu Governor Prof. Anyang Nyong’o said the people of Kisumu were peaceful and no security threat or incident had been reported during the electioneering period to warrant the alert.
The prevailing peace in the area, he added, had seen Kisumu play host to high profile conferences singling out the Africities which brought together 10, 000 delegates from across the world.
“Some of the visitors even chose to stay beyond the conference because of the peace and tranquility being enjoyed in this area,” he said.
Kenyans also took to social media platforms asking the US Embassy to disclose the information they have which informed the decision.
By Chris Mahandara