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US Envoy accuses Ruto of sending Police to Haiti for the money

Mr Dan Foote, a former United States of America Special Envoy for Haiti, accused Kenya’s President William Ruto of sending Kenya police to Haiti for the purpose of obtaining money.

Speaking on CNN Live while in New York on March 22, 2024, Mr Foote insinuated that the number of law enforcement personnel Kenya intended to send to Haiti was sorely inadequate and that this was more of a financial gain for Kenya than Haiti benefitting from the peace mission.

“1,000 (law enforcement personnel from Kenya) aren’t going to cut it and while they have commitments for double or triple that, that’s still not going to cut it. Every time there has been a military intervention in Haiti in the past 30 years, it’s had a minimum of 20,000 troops or police going in there. You see the reticence and part of the Kenyan public dissent this guy and that makes me nervous. I believe this is more of a cash grab by President Ruto who’s country would receive a lot of money for doing this but the Haitians are well armed and if the international community imposes this new government contract, they’re going to fight the Kenyans to the death,” said Mr Foote.

According to a statement from the Kenyan Presidency issued on March 1, 2024, Kenya intends on deploying 1,000 police officer to Haiti to lead a multinational mission that will help restore law and order in the Caribbean nation. However, the move to send Kenya’s police officer to Haiti continues to be cause for debate and opposition in the country. This opposition landed in Court corridors in January 2024 and the High Court of Kenya blocked the proposal to send police to Haiti.

High Court Judge Chacha Mwita ruled that authorities could only deploy officers abroad if a reciprical arrangement was in place with Haiti, and any other step would contravene the Constitution and laws of Kenya.

Following this rule, President William Ruto vowed that Kenya’s peace mission to Haiti would proceed. Weeks later, he signed a deal with the now former Prime Minister of Haiti, Mr Ariel Henri. In their post-agreement statement, State House made sure to announce that this deal was a “reciprocal instrument” to align with Judge Mwita’s ruling.

However, days after the signing of the agreement, Mr Henri had to resign from his Prime Ministerial position as gangs in Haiti overtook the capital city of Port-au-Prince while baying for blood, including Mr Henri’s.

Kenya is set to lead the peace keeping mission in Haiti. Other countries that pledged forces for the Haiti mission include Benin, Chad, Bangladesh, Barbados and The Bahamas to quell gang violence that has seen over 5,000 people killed and 200,000 people internally displaced.

Kenya’s mission to Haiti was set to be funded by the United States of America prior to Mr Henri’s resignation. Following his exit and the formation of a Presidential Council in Haiti, USA had to seek assurances from Kenya on its peace keeping mission position following the court ruling.

The peace keeping mission has a budget of $300 (Sh 39,750,000,000) million and an additional $100 million to facilitate the deployment of the multinational security support. These funds were pooled from the American Department of Defense, State Department and humanitarian assistance. The funds are set to go towards salaries and other compensation for the multinational troops going into Haiti.

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