Economy

Netanyahu visit causes crippling traffic jams in Nairobi

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L), flanked by Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta (2nd L) and military officials, inspects a guard of honour at the State House in Nairobi on July 5, 2016. Police and other law enforcement agencies had blocked some roads to keep them clear ahead of his arrival at State House. PHOTO | SIMON MAINA |

Summary

  • Road closure during peak morning hours created traffic chaos forcing some people to walk to their offices.
  • The impact of the clogging was also felt on all roads coming into the city.
  • Mr Netanyahu is the first incumbent head of Israel's government to visit Kenya at the invitation of President Kenyatta.

Countless Kenyans in the capital were on Tuesday morning faced with severe hardship in reaching their destinations as they remained trapped in traffic jams for hours.

The gridlock was caused by the closure of certain roads to provide extra security to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who began his official three-day State visit to Kenya today.

The Nation quoted Nairobi County Commander Japheth Koome as saying that some roads would remain closed for the day.

They include Chiromo Road between Westlands and Museum Hill which would be closed all day to vehicles from Westlands to the central business district (CBD).

"At some stage, Kenyatta Avenue and State House Avenue will also be closed. Later in the day, Uhuru Highway, Haile Selassie Avenue, Parliament Road and Wabera Street will also be closed,” Mr Koome said.

Lang'ata Road will also be affected temporarily later in the day.

In line with the directive, police and other law-enforcement agencies had blocked some roads to keep them clear ahead of his arrival at State House, Nairobi, where he would later hold bilateral talks with his host President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Some of the roads affected were Forest Road, Kipande Road, and Waiyaki Way.

The closure during peak morning hours created traffic chaos forcing some people to walk to their offices.

Snarl ups were witnessed on Thika Road, Mombasa Road and Waiyaki Way, with a large number of vehicles remaining stuck for hours.

The impact of the clogging was also felt on all roads coming into the city.

Many desperate motorists turned to narrow streets to get out of the mess but only to aggravate the situation.

Some Kenyans turned to social media to air their frustration.

“Netanyahu should use a chopper to tour Nairobi. This can reduce jam on roads,” Twitter user John Wainaina said.

Another user, @SimonFya, said: “Netanyahu making it look like we crossing the Red Sea. Waiyaki Way is crazy.”

Mr Netanyahu began his three day state visit to Kenya on Tuesday with hopes to strengthen Israeli presence in the country.

He is the first incumbent head of Israel's government to visit Kenya at the invitation of President Kenyatta.