Kenya Prepares Police Deployment to Haiti amid President's US Visit

Kenya Prepares Police Deployment to Haiti amid President's US Visit

Kenya is proceeding with plans to deploy police officers to Haiti as part of a UN-backed Multinational Security Support mission aimed at addressing gang violence and instability. The first batch of 200 elite officers from units such as the Recce Squad, Rapid Deployment Force, and Special Operations Group is expected to arrive in Port-au-Prince around May 23/24, coinciding with President William Ruto's state visit to the United States. The officers will be tasked with securing critical installations, including the airport, and engaging in close-quarter combat with gangs controlling large parts of the capital.

The deployment has been met with legal challenges domestically, with accusations from petitioners that the government is acting in defiance of a January High Court order that deemed such deployments unconstitutional and illegal without a reciprocal agreement. Dr. Ekuru Aukot, leader of the Thirdway Alliance Kenya, has taken legal action to prevent the deployment, asserting that it violates court orders. Despite these challenges, Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Dr. Korir Sing'Oei has confirmed the plans and clarified that President Ruto will not visit Haiti during his trip to the U.S. The Law Society of Kenya has also voiced opposition, calling the deployment "unconstitutional and illegal."

Initially, there was significant opposition to the deployment, including from opposition leader Raila Odinga, who urged Members of Parliament not to approve it. However, the situation has evolved, with the Kenyan Parliament and Cabinet having approved the deployment of 1,000 officers in November 2023, and non-African countries expressing a willingness to participate in the mission. The decision to deploy Kenyan police to Haiti represents a complex interplay between international commitments and domestic legal and political considerations.


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