United States Ambassador to Kenya Margaret Meg Whitman has dismissed a recent advisory on Kisumu claiming it was routine.
During a press conference, the ambassador stated that the advisory “does not in any way reflect the United States’ views on the outcome of Tuesday’s election.”
“The reason we issued the alert is that this is the second largest population of Americans outside of Nairobi. We have a very large number of American citizens and a large number of Embassy personnel in Kisumu,” she said.
Last week, the US embassy in Kenya released an advisory security alert to its citizens in Kisumu, warning of possible election-related chaos.
However, the embassy withdrew the statement shortly after it sparked rage and anger on social media, as Kenyans accused the US embassy of profiling the Nyanza-based city.
“In the run-up to the election, election-related demonstrations and rallies are common and are likely to continue, blocking important intersections and generating traffic bottlenecks,” the Embassy stated.
The Kisumu advisory came amid increased security deployments in Eldoret, which was not mentioned in the Embassy’s security alert, with the Ministry of Interior citing the possibility of chaos following the emergence of what security officials called inciteful leaflets in parts of the Rift Valley region.
The decision received conflicting reactions from a cross-section of Kisumu officials and residents, who demanded for the warning to be lifted.
Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong’o stated that the people of Kisumu were peaceful and that no security danger or event had been recorded throughout the campaign time to warrant the alarm.
He said that the region’s current tranquility had seen Kisumu host high-profile conferences, including the Africities, which drew 10,000 attendees from all over the world.
“Some of the tourists even elected to stay beyond the conference because of the quiet and tranquility in this location,” he explained.