US issues security alert on Kisumu ahead of Supreme Court ruling

United States Ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman.

United States Ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman during a press briefing at the US Embassy in Nairobi on August 7, 2022.
 

Photo credit: Lucy Wanjiru | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The US Embassy in Nairobi said the move was made "out of an abundance of caution".
  • The Embassy has imposed movement restrictions on its government personnel in the lakeside city reminding its citizens of the continued need for sustained vigilance.
  • The security alert comes two days after the US Ambassador to Kenya Margaret 'Meg' Whitman visited Kisumu in what was her first official trip outside Nairobi.

The US has issued a security alert advising US personnel against travel to Kisumu ahead of next Monday’s Supreme Court verdict.

Ahead of the all-important ruling by the seven-judge bench, the US Embassy in Kenya has imposed movement restrictions on its government personnel in Kisumu with the State Department reminding its citizens of the continued need for sustained vigilance.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the U.S. Embassy has imposed movement restrictions on U.S. government personnel in Kisumu. The State Department reminds its citizens of the continued need for sustained vigilance,” read the alert.

In its statement dated September 1, 2022, the Embassy stated that Kenya has periodically experienced some post-electoral violence during election cycles.

"Election-related demonstrations and rallies regularly take place after elections, at times blocking key intersections and causing traffic jams," the Embassy said.

Possible demos

"Demonstrations may occasionally be violent, requiring police intervention.  Strikes and other protest activities related to economic conditions occur regularly."

Just like it has always done, the embassy warned its citizens to keep a low profile, be aware of their surroundings, monitor local media for updates, and avoid crowds and demonstrations.

“Be vigilant when visiting banks or ATMs, do not display signs of wealth, such as wearing expensive jewellery or watches, review your personal security plans and have travel documents up to date and easily accessible,” the alert further read.

The US citizens have been asked to carry proper identification, including a copy of the bio-page of their U.S. passport with a copy of a current Kenyan visa.

The embassy also shared phone numbers which the citizens may use to contact them when in need of any assistance.

The alert comes two days after the US Ambassador to Kenya Margaret 'Meg' Whitman visited Kisumu in what was her first official trip outside Nairobi.

US Ambassador to Kenya Margaret 'Meg' Whitman when she paid a courtesy call on Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong'o.

US Ambassador to Kenya Margaret 'Meg' Whitman when she paid a courtesy call on Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong'o on August 30, 2022.

Photo credit: Rushdie Oudia | Nation Media Group.

She was visiting Kisumu weeks after the embassy had warned their citizens against visiting the lakeside city days before the August 9th General Election, a move that attracted protests from Kisumu Governor Prof Anyang Nyong'o and other residents.

When she visited on Tuesday, Ms Whitman paid a courtesy call to Kisumu County Commissioner Mrs Josephine Ouko and later met with the Governor.

During her visit, she praised Kisumu as being one of the best hosts for United States citizens, investments, businesses and embassy programs. 

While fielding questions from the media, the envoy stated that their first job is the safety and security of the citizens and embassy staff, saying it is the law to alert their people on security issues denying claims that they were targeting Kisumu specifically. 

She however couldn’t guarantee that there won't be any alert in future arguing it is required by US law when there is a security issue. 

The county Boss however viewed her Excellency’s visit as a vote of confidence in our security. 

After Dr William Ruto was declared president-elect, there were pockets of protest and violence in Kisumu.  

While some welcomed her on the visit and even offered fresh tilapia, some used the opportunity to call the Embassy out over the travel advisory against Kisumu. 

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