, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 23 – State House Spokesperson Manoah Esipisu has advised Nairobi residents to brace themselves for major disruptions during the Papal visit slated for next month.
Esipisu said residents shouldn’t imagine that the situation would be similar to that experienced when US President Barack Obama was in the country in July.
“In that instance people ran away from the city. Now they’ll be rushing in,” he said.
Esipisu said they not only expected an influx from around the country but the region as well.
“In Nairobi alone we have about 1.4 million Catholics, in Kenya 14 million,” David Omwoyo, Managing Director of Waumini Communications said at a press briefing on Friday.
In the interest of manageable crowds therefore, he said the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) Secretariat was working to only have a representative number come into the city from the various regions given Kenya has over 3,000 parishes.
Esipisu said over a million people are expected to attend mass at the University of Nairobi on Thursday, November 26.
“During the last Papal visit we had pilgrims walk up from Mombasa the week before and camp at Uhuru Park,” Omwoyo said.
While the mass will be open to the public, entry to the Pope’s other events will be restricted as was the case during President Obama’s visit.
Only 200,000 youth will for instance be allowed into the Kasarani Stadium for a meeting with the Pope.
While information on road closures, Esipisu said, would be released in due time, he said movement would be restricted by the masses expected.
With a month left to the Papal visit, Esipisu said the national government together with the KCCB will be giving weekly briefings.
Depending on the time of his arrival, the Holy Father will receive a 21-gun salute either at State House Nairobi or when he lands at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. “His visit of course being both a Pastoral and State visit,” Esipisu said.
The Pope will be in Kenya for three days before making his way to Uganda.