Kenya security agencies say they are ready to host Pope Francis

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Two weeks before Pope Francis arrives in Nairobi, the Kenyan Government has assured Kenyans about adequate security arrangements for Pope Francis’ visit.

Kenya’s Presidential Spokesperson at State House, Manoah Esipisu has told Kenyans that Kenyan security agencies have assured government that they are ready to receive the Pope. For obvious reasons, Esipisu declined to go into detailed specifics.

“Many of you have enquired, persistently I might add, about our security preparedness. Specifically, the Inspector-General of Police says that the security agencies are ready to receive the Pope. The operation itself will, typically, be multi-agency. The Inspector-General of Police and his team in Nairobi County will discuss finer details at an appropriate time,” Esipisu said.

The Spokesperson further said that security agencies would continue to review the security situation. “Suffice it to say that security agencies continue to fine-tune plans to secure the city during a particularly busy period and when we expect Nairobi’s population to swell by an additional one million people,” he said.

The Kenyan government is inviting Kenyans to turn out in numbers and attend the public Mass.  “Unlike the visit by President Barack Obama when the government encouraged Kenyans to stay home, we are encouraging Kenyans to flock into the city in their numbers to cheer the Pope and celebrate Mass with him. As this is a state and pastoral visit, the Pope himself has expressed the desire that as many people as possible have access to him, and when the routes he will take during the tour are announced, you will see that they reflect this desire,” said the state house spokesperson.

Discussing whether Government would declare 26 and 27 November public holidays, Esipisu said the Government was still consulting.

“The answer is that, the government is deeply seized with the matter and a decision should be made in the coming days. The Government is looking at the options in this matter and will make a decision based on what works best for the country. One of the options is whether to ask employees, especially in Nairobi, to look at flexi working hours on the crucial days,” he said.

Some 80 journalists are travelling on the Papal flight, including four Kenyans. 100 other journalists from the region are expected to cover the event, in addition to a heavy national presence of around 1,000 journalists.

Esipisu has invited media not yet accredited for the visit to do so at the link, http://www.popevisitke.or.ke/accreditation/


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