Don’t lead forces to slaughter in Haiti

A Haitian police officer

A Haitian police officer stands guard outside of the presidential residence in Port-au-Prince.

Photo credit: Valerie Baeriswyl | AFP

That danger looms for the Kenyan forces set to be deployed in Haiti to fight runaway gang violence cannot be ruled out. Haiti is too unstable and dangerous for them. First, being anglophones, they will have great difficulty communicating with the francophone residents.

It is possible that the Kenyans will be the main target of the over 200 gangs operating in the Caribbean island nation, including 95 in the capital Port-au-Prince. All other countries—including the US, which has only pledged $100 million for the venture—are scared of sending their forces to the gang violence-wracked South American country.

In a story, “Haiti left with no elected government officials as it spirals towards anarchy”, The Guardian recently reported: “The last 10 remaining senators in Haiti’s parliament have officially left office, leaving the country without a single democratically elected government official.” It added: “Activists in Haiti have warned that any foreign force would be the latest in a long history of miscalculated foreign intervention attempts in the Caribbean.”

One wonders why President William Ruto didn’t call for a UN mission in which Kenyan security forces would be part of instead of going it alone. The President’s decision to deploy 1,000 Kenyan police officers to Haiti is as questionable and has direct negative consequences as the other recent one of reopening the Somali border. That has posed great danger from Al-Shabaab terrorists, not only to common Kenyans but even the security personnel.

President Ruto is quoted in the media as having dismissed critics of the reopening of the border despite the decision having resulted in a surge in deadly attacks. Ironically, that was despite the security challenges recently witnessed in Lamu, Garissa and Mandera. In just one month, the Somalia-based group has launched at least 10 attacks, killing several security officers and severely injuring others.

Dr Kinity, PhD, is a counsellor and human rights activist based in the US. [email protected].