‘Obamigration’ forces Nairobians out of town


While U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit comes with major perks for the tourism and hospitality industry, the trip is expected to worsen Nairobi’s traffic nightmare.

Mombasa road, Waiyaki Way and Uhuru Highway will be closed to the public from 2pm on Friday. On Saturday, motorists using Waiyaki Way, Thika Road and Limuru Road will be forced to look for alternative routes.

Communication will also be affected as Obama’s security team is expected to jam telecommunications signals in certain parts of the city.

To avoid the inconveniences, some Nairobi residents are leaving the city ahead of Obama’s arrival. Businesses like Ticket Sasa are taking advantage of the ‘Obamigration’ by offering special rates for weekend getaways.

“Uncle Barry and his team will shut down the network, shut down the roads, heck we even suspect they have shut down the sun! Avoid the hassles and join us for ‪#‎Obamigration!” read a post on the company’s Facebook page.

Budget airline Fly 540 sent text messages to their clients reading; “Obama is in town! Book your flights from Kisumu or Eldoret for only Ksh10, 540. Book us today!”

Nairobi residents who will not be participating in the entrepreneurship summit are planning to stay indoors over the weekend.

“There’s no way I’m leaving my house with all this Obama-mania! In fact I’ve stocked my fridge with food already, and I’m planning to get movies to keep me busy while Obama is in town,” said Mary Maina.

While some businesses are closing shop for the weekend, others are taking advantage of the visit to sell memorabilia as this is the first time that Obama is coming into the country as President.

Obama will jet into the country on Friday ahead of the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit. The summit, which expected to host nearly 5000 delegates, will take place on the 25th and 26th of July.

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‘Obamigration’ forces Nairobians out of town
Joy Chelagat
Story By Joy Chelagat
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