alexa Parts of Nairobi closed in security clampdown - Daily Nation

Parts of Nairobi closed in security clampdown

Tuesday August 24 2010

Elvis Ogina | NATION The head of the Presidential Press Service (PPS), Mr Isaiah Kabira (right), briefs journalists at Uhuru Park, Nairobi, on Tuesday ahead of Friday’s promulgation ceremony at the same venue. Major roads will remain closed to motorists from Thursday.

Elvis Ogina | NATION The head of the Presidential Press Service (PPS), Mr Isaiah Kabira (right), briefs journalists at Uhuru Park, Nairobi, on Tuesday ahead of Friday’s promulgation ceremony at the same venue. Major roads will remain closed to motorists from Thursday. 

By ERIC SHIMOLI [email protected] AND OLIVER MATHENGE [email protected]

A massive security ring will be thrown around Uhuru Park for Friday’s declaration of the new Constitution into law.

The park will be sealed off from Wednesday and the grounds will be thoroughly “swept”, a term used by security personnel to describe the process of searching an area for explosives.

The director of operations at police headquarters, Mr Julius Ndegwa, said all wananchi attending the ceremony will go through security checks.

There will be three access points to the grounds. VIPs, media and emergency service personnel will enter from the Serena Hotel side.

The public will access the grounds using the Railway Golf Club gate and the Upper Hill side.

“Every person coming to the park should know that they will have to undergo security checks,’’ Mr Ndegwa said.

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“Security personnel will carry out body searches on those entering the park and there will be a walkway.”

Mr Ndegwa said Afya, Kilimo, Transcom and other buildings will be closed to the public from Thursday evening.

“People will require written permission to enter buildings around that area,” he said.

Major roads will be closed in Nairobi on Wednesday to enable security personnel to rehearse for Friday’s celebrations.

The roads will be opened to normal traffic on Thursday, but will be closed again on the big day. They will be closed for 10 hours, between 3am and 1pm on both days, said the city’s traffic commandant Patrick Lumumba.

Uhuru Highway, will be closed between the Nyayo Stadium and University Way roundabouts. Consequently, motorists from Mombasa Road have been advised to enter the city via Lusaka and Landhies roads.

Those from Westlands moving towards Mombasa Road, will be diverted at the University Way/Uhuru Highway roundabout to the city centre. The full stretches of Cathedral Road and City Hall Way will be closed to normal traffic.

“Motorists from Ngong Road will access the city centre through Nyerere Road, to the University Way/Uhuru Highway roundabout,” said Mr Lumumba.

Those driving to the lower part of Uhuru Highway from the city centre will take a longer route.

“They will go through Koinange Street, University Way, Nyerere Road, Processional Way, State House Avenue to Raph Bunche Road,” the traffic boss directed.

Those driving on Upper Hill Road will be diverted to Bunyala, Machakos, Lusaka and Landhies Roads before entering the central business district.

Haile Selassie Avenue users, hoping to drive to the city centre from Upper Hill, will have to take Valley Road then Nyerere Road.

Mr Lumumba urged road users to follow directions given by traffic police officers stationed at various points on the roads.

A section of Uhuru Park on the Kenyatta Avenue side will be closed on Friday to allow for the 21 gun salute to be fired by a military canon.

The promulgation will be marked with a parade of all the country’s disciplined forces with shows by the military being the highlight of the day.

There will be a swearing in of ministers at State House before the president hosts the dignitaries for a luncheon to celebrate the historic day.

A joint parade of the military, police, Administration Police, National Youth Service as well as officers from the Kenya Wildlife Service has been ongoing at the park.

The disciplined forces will be required to play the entire national anthem unlike other public holidays when only the first stanza is played.

The occasion will be graced by foreign dignitaries among them Heads of State from the East African region and outside.

Others invited include the Panel of Eminent African Personalities led by former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan. The panel helped broker an agreement between the Party of National Unity and the Orange Democratic Movement, ending the political crisis after the disputed 2007 election.

Additional reporting by Fred Mukinda