Obama team takes over state house
STARTING this morning, no staff and other individuals resident in State House grounds will be allowed in or out of the premises until Sunday evening.
These arrangements have been put in place to accommodate US President Barack Obama’s cohosting of the Sixth Entrepreneurship Summit with President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“We were informed early enough to alert our families that, starting Thursday, there will be restricted movement into and out of the premises. We have been instructed not to leave or come into State House for the duration Obama will be in the country. What this means is that those who on Thursday will be found still outside the facility will remain out until then,” a source told the Star.
The source added: “We have been stocking our houses and I think there is no problem with that. Those officers who work at State House but reside outside the facility have been asked to stay away for the time being.”
Personnel drawn from the security agencies make up the majority of individuals who reside in State House grounds with their families.
As they have done with all the places that the US President will visit during his tour, the source said the US security team had already mapped out all of State House and its perimeter.
Security sweeps have also been done in all houses within the facility. Extra reinforcements have been installed at the State House main gates.
“For the last two weeks, entry to State House, even for us familiar faces, has been highly restricted; we have been subjected to serious scrutiny at the gates,” a source said.
The source said some of Obama’s security staff have been accommodated at the guest houses in State House grounds. The team inspected the entire fence and have taken control of a CCTV room to monitor all entry and exit points manned by the GSU.
With Obama expected tomorrow, major highways will be closed for hours. Motorists have been advised to use alternative routes as police will block sections of Mombasa Road, Uhuru Highway and Waiyaki Way until then.
At JKIA, the taxi rank was moved to about a kilometre away.
Flights between Kenya and Somalia were suspended with immediate effect until the US President leaves the country on Sunday evening.
Obama’s immediate motorcade, including two identical limousines popularly known as Cadillac One or The Beast, arrived yesterday.
The limos were escorted into the city by Kenyan police cars and more than six armoured SUVs that are used to ferry Obama’s close protection security personnel.
Nairobi police chief Benson Kibui met divisional police commanders in Nairobi yesterday, to firm up traffic management during all three days.
Nairobi Traffic chief Edward Mwamburi said yesterday that Mombasa Road, Uhuru Highway and Waiyaki Way will be closed on Friday from 2pm to 9pm. Waiyaki Way, the Thika Superhighway and Limuru Road will be closed on Saturday, when Obama is expected to travel to the UN Gigiri Complex, Kenyatta University and Kasarani Safaricom Stadium.
Mwamburi said motorists should seek alternative routes to their destinations during the period of traffic interruption and diversion.
Kibui, who addressed a press briefing in Nairobi on traffic management in the city said: “You will not be allowed in Kasarani Stadium for the Obama address without an invitation card.”
Those without invitation cards can catch a glimpse of Obama’s motorcade as it drives into the venue or on television, he added.
Close to 10,000 police officers will be deployed in the city to manage traffic and control the crowds at the different venues that Obama will visit.
Mwamburi said motorists should use bypasses, intersections and U-turns to avoid joining the major highways during the specified times.
Several Schools announced that their students will stay away on Friday and Saturday.