Uhuru declares Thursday a public holiday as Nairobi hosts Pope
President Uhuru Kenyatta has declared November 26, 2015 a public holiday and a national day of prayer and reflection.
“As we are privileged to be hosting His Holiness the Pope at the time, he will set the tone for the day,” a statement from State House spokesperson Manoah Esipisu said on Tuesday.
Pope Francis is scheduled to arrive in Nairobi on Wednesday 5 p.m in his first tour in Africa that will see him visit also Uganda and the Central African Republic.
Thursday will be the Pope’s busiest day during the tour. He will hold an inter-religious meeting in the morning then proceed to celebrate a public mass at the University of Nairobi grounds.
He will later in the afternoon head to the St Mary’s school grounds where he will meet the Catholic Church clergy and seminarians and then visit the United Nations Environmental Programme headquarters in Gigiri.
Nairobi’s central business district is expected to be on lockdown on Thursday as millions of Kenyans turn up for the Papal Mass. Those who will not get space at the venue will get the chance to follow the Mass via large screens that will be set up at Uhuru Park.
Clerics attending the mass have been directed to park their vehicles at the Consolata Shrine and walk to the venue of the mass that will begin at 10 am.
People who have difficulties walking will be taken to the venue in special shuttles but they have to obtain clearance in advance.
Due to the large number of people expected to attend, no vehicles will be allowed into the city centre, or anywhere near the venue of the Mass.
Only special and emergency vehicles will be allowed in the proximity of the venue.
All people entering the University of Nairobi’s Graduation Square — where the Mass will be celebrated — must have the special cards and badges that have been issued by the Steering Committee. This applies even to the priests and religious leaders.
According to the police, all inbound vehicles using Mombasa Road will be stopped at Bunyala Roundabout where secure parking will be provided at Nyayo Stadium.
Vehicles coming from Ngong Road will also be stopped at Kenya National Library Service building while those using Valley Road will not move past Silver Springs Roundabout.
Other roads expected to be blocked towards the CBD are Lenana Road and Dennis Pritt Road while motorists using Arboretum Road will not be allowed past Kileleshwa Petrol station.
Vehicles inbound to town using Waiyaki way will be blocked after Villa Rosa Kempinsky hotel and will not access the overpass and underpass at Ojijo which will be blocked.
Thika Superhighway will be blocked at Forest Road while those intending to use Murang’a Road will end their journey at University Way near Lillian Towers.
Uhuru Highway is also expected to be blocked along Kenyatta Avenue near GPO while Haile Selassie Avenue will not be accessible from Upper Hill.
On the same evening, Limuru Road is expected to be affected as the Pope will be heading to UNEP headquarters in Gigiri.