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Nairobi City Centre to stay in lockdown during Pope’s visit

Pope Francis finally arrives in the capital city on Wednesday for the fourth visit to Kenya by a Pontiff.

Police have announced that key roads in Nairobi will remain closed to traffic to ensure security during the papal visit, the first by Pope Francis since he ascended to the seat in 2013.

According to the National Steering Committee in charge of the Pope’s visit, all priests and other clergy attending Thursday Mass will be required to dress formally in vestments prescribed for the event.

The congregation has also been urged to care for the environment before, during and after the mass.

Clerics have been directed to park their vehicles at the Consolata Shrine and walk to the venue of the mass that will begin at 10am.

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.

Meanwhile, Kangemi, where the Pope is expected to visit on Friday, has undergone a facelift in readiness for the reception. The Pope will celebrate his second Mass at the Kangemi Catholic Parish.

Area MCA Peter Isuha said the visit was the catalyst they wanted for the largely slum area to get development.

“We had presented proposals for our people for many years and the Pope’s visit was the push we wanted,” he said, noting that roads were being repaired and security had also improved after street lights were installed.