NEWSPeople Daily

Bustling Nairobi deserted ahead of Obama arrival

Major streets and highways in Nairobi yesterday experienced smooth traffic flow as some business premises were closed ahead of US President Barack Obama visit.

A spot check by the People Daily revealed that some government offices and some universities with campuses in the city centre were shut down yesterday. City campuses of St Paul University, Mount Kenya University and Kenya Methodist University are some of the institutions that remained closed.

Thika, Limuru, Forest and Kipande roads were also uncharacteristically free and clear of traffic. Uhuru Highway and Haile Selassie Avenue experienced easy traffic flow unlike the norm when there are always traffic jams.

Motorists had no issues with parking space as many streets including Koinange, Mama Ngina streets and Taifa Road were empty. There is normally double parking on those streets. Temporary closure of major roads also prompted many people to keep off the city centre.

Most banks were opened for a few hours. Some traders did not open the shops at all and notices were all over informing their customers that they will remain closed until Monday. Security was tight as evidenced by the large numbers of personnel who patrolled the city centre.

“More than 10,000 police officers have been deployed in the capital,” a police source told the People Daily. National Youth Service personnel, Administration Police officers, county council askaris and traffic police manned roundabouts as some patrolled the city centre on motor bikes and police cars.

The security personnel abruptly stopped people and demanded to see their identity cards or other identification documents.

Those who did not have were arrested and taken to the nearest police station. Many matatus plying various routes had photos of the US leader while others had US and Kenyan miniature flags. Matatu fares had also been reduced as there were few commuters.

City Hall personnel were also busy beautifying pavements and applying fresh coat of paints on pavements near Uhuru Highway and on Mombasa Road.

Street children were nonwhere to be seen. President Obama will participate in the Sixth Annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Nairobi today and also hold bilateral talks with his host President Uhuru Kenyatta and other leaders.

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