Kenya: U.S. Issues Security Alert on Polls, Asks Citizens to Avoid Kisumu

Nairobi — The US Embassy in Nairobi has issued a travel advisory urging American citizens to avoid traveling to Kisumu ahead of next Tuesday’s General Election.

In a security alert issued on Tuesday, the Embassy also noted it had imposed movement restrictions on its staff in the lakeside city.

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

The Embassy particularly pointed out the likelihood of election-related skirmishes.

“Election-related demonstrations and rallies regularly take place in the runup to the election and are likely to continue, at times blocking key intersections and causing traffic jams,” the Embassy said.

“Demonstrations may occasionally be violent, requiring police intervention. Strikes and other protest activities related to economic conditions occur regularly,” it went on to state.

The advisory on Kisumu came against the backdrop of increased security deployments in Eldoret, which did not feature in the Embassy’s security alert, with the Ministry of Interior citing the possibility of chaos following the emergence of what security officials termed as inciteful leaflets in parts of Rift Valley region.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi on Tuesday said additional security personnel will be deployed in parts of Rift Valley as part of election readiness measures.

Matiangi said the government will deploy a contingent of General Service Unit (GSU) personnel in Eldoret, Kuresoi and Molo as part of efforts to assure residents of their safety.

The CS made the announcement even as he reported the arrest of eight individuals linked to inciteful leaflets circulated in Eldoret without commenting on the status of an investigation into the matter or the likelihood of pressing charges.

“They are not here for any particular aggression, they are here to assure Wananchi and demonstrate to Wananchi that we are ready to rise up to any challenge that may come up,” Matiangi said.

Matiangi orders deployment of additional GSU contingents to R. Valley ahead of polls

Politicians allied to the Kenya Kwanza Alliance which enjoys significant support in the region however termed the move as a plot to create fear in order to suppress voter turnout to disadvantage the coalition’s presidential candidate William Ruto and favour Azimio’s Raila Odinga who enjoys the backing of the State.

Ex-Uhuru messaging chief alleges plot to destabilize Rift Valley ahead of polls

Ruto who has kept off Kisumu and mainly Luo Nyanza since November 2021 when his motorcade was stoned at Kondele has accused Azimio of perpetuating violence and the government of deliberately failing to act.

Mbadi denies claims Raila blocking Ruto from Luo Nyanza through violence