Haiti PM Ariel Henry to Kenya: I'm confident you'll help us restore peace at home

President William Ruto and Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry at State House, Nairobi on Friday.

President William Ruto and former Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry at State House, Nairobi on Friday.

Photo credit: PCS

Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry has expressed confidence that peace will be restored in his country, despite the intensifying conflict between the government and violent gangs.

In a public lecture at the United States International University (USIU) in Kenya on Friday, Ariel thanked Kenya for its solidarity with the people of Haiti.

He said Haiti will continue to fight for peace even as violent gangs continue to expand their territory as the government struggles to stabilise the country since the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in 2021.

The Prime Minister praised Kenyan President William Ruto for agreeing to lead the UN-backed multinational security force that will be deployed to help the Haitian government regain territory from the gangs.

 “We thank President William Ruto for accepting to intervene. We thank him for that, and we thank Kenya for solidarity with the people of Haiti, we are grateful,” PM Ariel said.

In his speech, the Prime Minister said other countries besides Kenya had pledged to help Haiti in a multinational peacekeeping mission to be led by Kenya.

 “We need international cooperation to restore peace in Haiti. We need physical peace for our economic development,” he said.

The Prime Minister said he accepted the invitation to speak at the USIU after learning that the university's students come from all over the world, making it an appropriate venue for his message of peace to the entire world.

Fight organised gangs

Even as the government continues to fight organised gangs, the Prime Minister said the government has been able to reach out to people in some parts of the country, including the capital, Port-au-Prince.

He said that since the assassination of the Haitian president, the situation has been critical not only for the people of Haiti, but also for the government that promised to stabilise the country.

 “We tried many types of solutions, and in October 2022, we requested the entire world to help us,” he added.

The Prime Minister said that there is currently no elected leader in Haiti and that the government would like to hold elections once peace is restored.

Haitian President Jovenel Moise First Lady Martine

Haitian President Jovenel Moise (left) and First Lady Martine Moise are seen at the National Palace in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on May 23, 2018. Moise was assassinated on July 7, 2021.

Photo credit: File | AFP

Haitian President Jovenel Moise was assassinated on July 7, 2021 when a commando group entered his bedroom at the house in Port-au-Prince and shot him 12 times.

 “We need an election in order to stabilise the economy. We need a democratic government for people to go and invest in Haiti,” he said.

His visit to Kenya comes amid a push to deploy 1,000 Kenyan police officers to Haiti, a mission that has been altered by the court.

On January 29, Justice Enock Chacha Mwita ruled that the government's decision to send police officers to Haiti violated the Constitution, describing it as unconstitutional, illegal and invalid.

Kenya's Principal Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Dr Abraham Korir Sing'oei, who accompanied Ariel, said Kenya was moved by his presentation to the United Nations General Assembly in September last year, which highlighted the challenges facing Haiti.

President William Ruto raised his hand

 “Following his speech, President William Ruto raised his hand and said that Kenya would stand with Haiti, a number of other leaders in the room also raised their hands to stand with Haiti,” PS Sing'oei said.

He said the UN-backed mission would deploy some 1,000 police officers to help with reconstruction and address the security challenges facing the country.

Receiving Ariel, President Ruto said Kenya stands with the people of Haiti because of the common heritage they share.

 “We are offering the experience and expertise of our police officers in the Multinational Security Support Mission in Haiti as mandated by the United Nations Security Council and as guided by our courts,” President Ruto said through his X platform.

As the Prime Minister continued his visit to Kenya, violent gangs stepped up their operations immediately after he left Haiti, taking over most areas of the capital.

The violence also forced Haiti's national airline to suspend operations as gangs exchanged gunfire with government security forces.