The United States of America (USA) Embassy in Nairobi has issued another travel advisory against Kisumu ahead of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Presidential election petition.
The alert comes two days after the US ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman visited Kisumu and held a meeting with Governor Prof. Anyang Nyong’o, Security officials and US nationals working in the area.
During the meeting, the two lauded the prevailing peace and security in the area and held discussions on strengthening collaborations on health, trade and agriculture.
Nyong’o said the lakeside county had remained peaceful during the electioneering period adding that the visit by Whitman was a confirmation that the area was safe.
“We know that after this visit many more visitors are set to travel to Kisumu knowing very well that the county is safe,” he said.
The embassy issued the first travel advisory to Kisumu on 2nd August 2022 imposing movement restrictions on its citizens and personnel asking them to exercise caution ahead of the august 9th general elections.
While addressing the media in Kisumu during her visit, the ambassador who also held a meeting with Kisumu County Commissioner Josephine Ouko said the alert was routine adding that the embassy would not hesitate to issue another advisory to ensure the safety of US nationals in the area.
In the latest advisory released on Thursday, the US Embassy imposed movement restrictions on U.S. government personnel in Kisumu ahead of the Supreme Court ruling.
The State Department asked U.S. citizens and personnel in Kisumu to be vigilant, monitor local media for updates, avoid crowds, avoid demonstrations, and keep a low profile.
They have further been directed to have travel documents up to date and easily accessible, carry proper identification including a copy of the bio-page the U.S. passport with a copy of a current Kenyan visa, avoid displaying signs of wealth and be vigilant when visiting banks and ATM’s.
In a statement released to the Media, Kisumu County Chief Officer in charge of Communication John Oywa said whereas the US government’s concern over the safety of its citizens was in order, the tone of the alert was questionable.
“We take exceptional concern at the tone of the advisory which singles out Kisumu and suggests that the city could witness violence after the September 5th ruling on the presidential election petition, “he said.
Oywa said the state of affairs in the area was not expected to change despite the outcome of the September 5th ruling.
The county leadership, he said, has prevailed upon the area residents, especially the youth, to remain peaceful.
By Chris Mahandara