The National Police Service has announced strict security measures for observance by the public as the Safari Rally makes a comeback to the World Rally Championship calendar for the first time since 2003. They have also warned against laxity in adherence to COVID-19 protocols and regulations.
This comes as the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government announced road closures on several major highways on various dates throughout the rally season starting June 23rd running through to June 27th.
“We have deployed a multi-agency security team comprising of the National Police Service, Kenya Wildlife Service, National Youth Service and safety marshals to provide total round-the-clock security throughout the entire period,” said Charles Koskei, on behalf of the Inspector General of Police.
“National Police Service will take immediate and decisive action against anyone found contravening the prescribed protocols. It takes each and every stakeholder to make the World Rally Championship Safari Rally successful and incident-free, resulting in positive publicity for Kenya around the world.”
Meanwhile, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi gazetted the list of major highways that will be closed throughout the rally season.
Eldoret-Nakuru highway will be closed at Eldoret, Kericho-Nakuru at Kericho and Nyahururu-Nakuru’s closure point will be Nyahururu. Mombasa-Nairobi-Maai Mahiu-Naivasha will be closed at Mlolongo while the Narok-Maai Mahiu road will be closed at Suswa, with Kikopey-Elementeita road also affected for vehicles weighing more than three tonnes.
“We urge the public to cooperate with security agencies, especially those who will be directing traffic movements along affected routes to ensure the safety of all the road users,” said the Police statement.
A total of 58 drivers, 24 Kenyans and 34 foreigners will participate in the rally billed as one of the toughest and most adventurous on the WRC series. Kenyan driver Maxine Wahome, 26, is the only female participant with the showpiece featuring a 91-year old, who last participated in the Safari in 1997 and having started his rallying career in 1969, as the oldest.
President Uhuru Kenyatta will preside over the official flagging off ceremony at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre before the rally action takes place across three counties, namely Nairobi, Nakuru and Narok.
Rally enthusiasts will enjoy the ultimate man-versus-machine thrill at various spectator stages, which will include Shakedown – Loldia, Kasarani SS1, Kedong, Soysambu, Sleeping Warrior and Hell’s Gate.