Kenya prepares for police deployment to Haiti amidst legal challenges
Kenya is gearing up to host a delegation from Haiti in anticipation of the deployment of police officers to the Caribbean nation, plagued by years of violence.
The visit follows a meeting held just five days ago between a Kenyan delegation and officials in Haiti.
According to a statement by the team, a high-level delegation from the Ministry of Justice and Public Security and the NPH (Haitian National Police) will travel to Nairobi to prepare for the arrival of the Multinational Mission to Support Security (MSS).
The MSS deployment to Haiti has been approved by the United Nations (UN).
The impending deployment faces legal challenges as a case was filed in court over the officers’ dispatch. The court is expected to rule on January 26, 2024.
The earliest the team from the National Police Service can leave Kenya is in February 2024, subject to the court’s decision, following a petition filed by Thirdway Alliance Party Leader Ekuru Aukot.
During the recent meeting on December 5, the Kenyan delegation, led by Ms. Monica Juma and Deputy Inspector General of Administration Police Noor Gabow, engaged with Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry and government officials. They also met with the high command of the Haitian National Police.
However, civil society groups in Haiti, including the Center for Analysis and Research in Human Rights (CARDH), have expressed concerns about the challenging conditions faced by Kenyan officers dealing with local gangs.
Gedeon Jean, the Director of CARDH, emphasized the need for caution, acknowledging the tough environment in Haiti.
Gaelle Castor, an opposition political leader in Haiti and the Executive Director of Se Fanm, a nonprofit organization empowering Haitian women, echoed the concerns. They highlighted the disparity between the weapons used by gang members in Haiti and those provided to the police officers.
In a stern warning, gang leader Jimmy Barbecue Cherizer, a former police officer, threatened Kenyan police officers not to set foot in Haiti, asserting that they would face ruthless retaliation. The warnings and legal challenges underscore the complexity of the situation as Kenya contemplates contributing to international peacekeeping efforts in the troubled Caribbean nation.