US government cautions nationals living in Kisumu ahead of ruling
The government of the United States has cautioned its citizens, especially those living in Kisumu to be wary of incidences of violence that may erupt on Monday when the Supreme Court rules on the petition lodged by the Azimio-One Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga.
The US Embassy told its citizens that Kenya has periodically experienced some post-electoral violence during election cycles, adding that the Supreme Court is scheduled to announce a ruling on the presidential results on Monday.
“Election-related demonstrations and rallies regularly take place after elections, at times blocking key intersections and causing traffic jams. Demonstrations may occasionally be violent, requiring police intervention. Strikes and other protest activities related to economic conditions occur regularly,” a statement from the Embassy reads in part.
It went on: “Out of an abundance of caution, the US embassy has imposed movement restrictions on US government personnel in Kisumu. The State Department reminds US citizens of the continued need for sustained vigilance.”
The embassy has instead asked its citizens to on some actions to take which include: monitoring local media for updates, avoiding crowds, avoiding demonstrations, keeping a low profile, being aware of their surroundings and ensuring that they carry proper identification, including a copy of the bio-page of their US passport with a copy of a current Kenyan visa.
The embassy has also cautioned its citizens living across the country and especially Kisumu, to be vigilant when visiting banks or ATMs, not display signs of wealth, such as wearing expensive jewellery or watches, review their personal security plans and have travel documents up to date and easily accessible.
In early August just before the elections, the US government also issued travel advisories to its citizens especially those travelling to Kisumu, warning that there could be pockets of violence during the polls and after the polls.
The travel advisory had raised concerns that the US could have had intelligence of an impending security threat in the lakeside city.
“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,” reads the statement.
The US State Department in its statement told its citizens that demonstrations might occasionally be violent, requiring police intervention.
However, the embassy said it bears greater responsibility for the safety and security of US citizens and such alerts, including on extreme weather, are commonplace to ensure its citizens have information that helps inform travel plans.
The embassy noted that Kisumu hosts a significant number of US embassy personnel and is a frequent travel destination for American citizens.