Heavy security in Nairobi for Obama visit

Threat of anti-gay protest during Obama trip

Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport has been secured by American security agents ahead of the visit by US president Barack Obama on 23 July.

The governor of Nairobi, Evans Kidero, said that major roads in the capital will be closed to normal traffic during the US president's visit, which has prompted a major revamp of the city. Referred to jokingly by locals as "Obamacare", the upgrading works in recent weeks have seen roads fixed, walls painted, and the installation of new security cameras, pavements and flowerbeds.

The works have been concentrated between the airport and the city centre, chiefly along Mombasa Road, Uhuru Highway, Limuru Road and a section of the Thika Superhighway. The Westage Shopping Mall, in which 67 people were killed in an attack by al-Shabaab militants in 2013, has also reopened prior to Obama's visit.

Critics of the Nairobi revamp claim it is limited to a number of official buildings that Obama will visit and the routes taken by the president's convoy.

Members of Kenya's anti-gay Republican Liberty Party have threatened to disrupt Obama's visit to Nairobi over his strong support for gay rights. The conserative party threatens to rally some “5,000 totally unclad men and women to protest Obama’s open and aggressive support for homosexuality” in the capital on 22 and 23 of July.

The party's leader Vincent Kidala says the naked protest would be to show Obama “the difference between male and female body parts, in case he is confused.”

Obama will be in Kenya, the land of his father's birth, to participate in the Sixth Annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Nairobi from 24-26 July, before travelling to Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa for two days.

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