Kenya: Travel Advisory - Avoid the U.S.

Protesters march during a demonstration in solidarity with the global Black Lives Matter protests over police brutality and white supremacy in the U.S., outside the US Embassy in Nairobi on June 2.
11 August 2020

Kenyan citizens are asked to reconsider all travel to the United States due to unchecked spread of Covid-19. Those already in the US are also asked to exercise increased caution due to crime, terrorism, gang violence, extra-judicial executions and racial attacks.

In regard to Covid-19, Washington has failed, or refused, to enforce stay-at-home orders, social distancing, wearing of face masks, prohibitions on large gatherings and closure of schools, houses of worship, bars and nighclubs.

Suffer deprivation

The administration has openly defied and rejected scientific advice on the best ways to contain the spread of coronavirus, instead downplaying the threat and embracing and promoting conspiracy theories and unproven treatments, and politicising the campaign against the scourge.

The consequence is uncontrolled spread of the virus. The country has become the global epicentre of Covid-19 with over five million infections recorded by the beginning of this week and over 163,000 fatalities at the rate of 1,000 deaths per day.

Coronavirus has spread wildly amongst the general population. It has been particularly severe amongst the black population, which is predominant in densely populated urban regions that have been historically marginalised and suffer deprivation in employment opportunities and education and health services.

Hotbed of terrorism

Kenyan citizens are also cautioned against crime and violence in America. And the country is a hotbed of terrorism. Schools, shopping malls, public parks and other public areas have been frequent targets of armed attacks by extremists.

The administration has been unable, or unwilling, to confront the terrorists and may have aided and abetted attacks by allowing criminals unhindered access to arms and ammunition.

Another area of caution is in regard to racial attacks. Violent white extremist groups have been allowed to organise, enrol members, preach racial hatred, stockpile weapons of war and carry out unprovoked attacks against non-white people.

Institutions of law and order have not only been unable to stem the attacks but have been complicit in race crimes as evidenced by the high rate of extra-judicial executions targeting black people.

The administration has also deployed Secret Police units and armed vigilantes operating outside the normal chain of command to violently disrupt groups campaigning for democracy and civil rights.

Kenyans are cautioned that the rights to assembly, association and expression are no longer guaranteed for both locals and visitors to the US. All are asked to avoid crowded places such as shopping malls, cinemas, public squares, hotels, restaurants, sporting and entertainment events.

All are urged to defer or cancel all travel to Florida, Texas, New York, New Jersey and other states, regions, counties or cities where Covid-19 is out of control, as detailed in the full travel advisory.

Kenyan citizens are further advised that the rule of law is on the verge of breakdown in the US. Armed criminal gangs operate with impunity, often engaging in violent turf wars. Organised crime and the illegal narcotics industry have overwhelmed the criminal justice system.

Kidnapping and homicide

Do not visit shopping malls, amusement parks, schools and universities, places of worship and all other crowded places, especially those frequented by tourists, due to terrorism.

Reconsider travel to New York, Chicago, Seattle, District of Columbia and Houston at all times due to crime, kidnapping and homicide. Be especially careful when traveling after dark anywhere in the US due to racial attacks.

Violent crime, such as armed carjacking, mugging, home invasions, shootings and kidnapping, can occur at any time. Some local police are willing to confront the scourge but lack political support to respond effectively.

Terrorist attacks have occurred with little or no warning, targeting American and foreign government facilities and all places where people gather. They have included armed assaults, suicide operations, bomb/grenade attacks and kidnappings.

All should also bear in mind that the US is approaching a general election scheduled for November 3. This election campaign season has been typified by heightened rhetoric promoting racial divisions.

Violent white supremacist gangs may be motivated to organise and mobilise in pursuit of this agenda.

Kenyans in the US are cautioned to avoid political rallies and processions. They are asked to visit the Kenyan embassy website for the full travel advisory, and to keep constantly checking for updates.

Those intending to travel, including essential travel, are advised to defer their plans until such a time that the US government is able to ensure safety and security.

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