The elaborate security blanket thrown over Nairobi for United States President Barack Obama’s three-day visit could easily be the biggest ever to take place on Kenyan soil.
Many residents stayed away from the city centre as armed Kenyan police officers and American security personnel patrolled the areas where delegates to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit are being accommodated.
Security was tight near upmarket hotels where the GSU officers worked with traffic police to direct motorists away.
By 1pm, major roads earmarked for lockdown were clear for the US president’s motorcade. Motorists using Waiyaki Way in Westlands to Chiromo Road were diverted while others had to detour as traffic police cordoned off roads leading to the Villa Rosa Kempinski Hotel, believed to be accommodating some of the summit delegates.
Motorists trying to access Kipande Road, which leads to Uhuru Highway found it blocked by National Youth Service members.
Just like motorists who had to bear the inconveniences, people who wanted to book hotel rooms in some of the five-star hotels in Westlands found they were fully booked.
A check by the Nation at one of the hotels showed that rooms would only be available after Tuesday.
Armed security personnel and police ambulances were also seen driving in and out of key five-star hotels in Westlands, raising speculation that President Obama might possibly spend a night in one of them.
“It is very difficult to find a room anywhere in Westlands at the moment. All the hotel rooms have been taken by the visitors,” said a security guard.