Kenya: Security Tight as Obama Lands in K'Ogelo

President Uhuru Kenyatta with the 44th US President Barack Obama when he paid him a courtesy call at State House, Nairobi on July 15, 2018. On the left is Mr Obama’s half sister Dr Auma Obama.

American Secret Service agents yesterday descended on K'Ogelo and much of Alego, restricting the life of folks used to ride boda boda without protective gear or doing free walkabouts.

It is the price the villagers here will have to pay as former President Barack Obama arrives to launch a youth centre. Nyanza regional police boss, Mr Leonard Katana, said both Kenyan Police and American security officers will work together secure the whole event.

"We have stepped up the security to ensure President Obama and his delegates are safe. We are doing surveillance from the air, the land and from the lake," said Mr Katana. "We don't expect people hovering around the private event. People should count with their daily activities."

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"The family members know the guest they have invited. Therefore, only accredited guests will be allowed into the venue," he added.

The police will block the road leading to Ng'iya High school as the former President is expected to land there with his chopper.

But there will be a strict stop-and-search routine for anyone using roads near the venue. Those going in will be searched for weapons and will be required to show identification alongside proof of accreditation or invitation.

"We will definitely search residents using this route for security purposes," he said.

TINTED CARS

He urged the guests to carry light luggage as they come into Sauti Kuu Centre to ease the security search. Right from Saturday, there was heavy security as an elite squad from Kenya's General Service Unit and American Secret Service agents pitched tent. There was an unusually high number of tinted cars with US Embassy diplomatic number plates. The regular police could also be seen patrolling the area.

Journalists covering the event were told to ensure accreditation for their vehicles and themselves in order to be allowed access to the venue.

The entrance to Sauti Kuu youth centre was already guarded with two metal detectors stationed to check guests on two queues; male and female attendees.

There was also tight security at Mama Sarah Obama's homestead with officers patrolling the area.

PUBLIC ADDRESS

Traders and artist are cashing in on the President Obama visit by selling caps, calenders, tags, t-shirts, shirts, and other items with the former President's photos and paintings.

John Otieno, a trader, said business was picking up with the excitement of Mr Obama's arrival.

"Many people are buying the t-shirts, calenders and tags in readiness for tomorrow's inauguration of Sauti Kuu Centre by former the American president," he said.

Nicholas Rajula, a community member and businessman, said that residents were looking forward to a public address by President Obama before he left the country.

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