Haiti Prime Minister to visit Kenya over delayed deployment of Kenyan troops

President William Ruto and Haiti Prime Minister Ariel Henry in New York, United States.

President William Ruto and Haiti Prime Minister Ariel Henry in New York, United States.

Photo credit: PCS

Haiti’s Prime Minister, Ariel Henry, will soon visit Kenya in a bid to sort out issues that have stalled the deployment of Kenyan police officers to the troubled country.

This was revealed by Mr Henry’s Office on February 25 which said that the Prime Minister will, after attending the 46th Ordinary Meeting of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of State and Government in Guyana, visit Nairobi. The Meeting will end today (February 28, 2024).

"Next, the Prime Minister will travel to Nairobi, Kenya, to finalise modalities for the deployment of the MSS with Kenyan authorities and those of other countries in the African continent," a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said.

Mr Henry is expected to meet top security officers in Kenya to discuss and sign agreements before the deployment of the officers to Haiti.

This comes a few months after a team from Haiti visited Kenya to hold discussions over the same matter. 

The 1,000 troops expected to be sent to Haiti are teams from the Rapid Deployment Unit, Anti Stock Theft Unit, General Service Unit, and Border Patrol Unit. 

Some two weeks ago, Haiti announced that it is working on an official agreement with Kenyan officials to secure the long-awaited deployment.

Earlier this week, the United States Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield announced that Benin will also be contributing 2,000 troops to assist in the multinational security force approved by the UN to curb gang violence in the Caribbean country. Kenya will be leading the process.

She added that the deployment has to be soon with cases of violence increasing in Haiti where at least 300 gangs control a larger part of the capital and accounted for 83 percent of killings and injuries recorded last year. At least 8,400 people were killed by the gangs last year.

"This mission is key to helping the Haitian National Police restore peace and security, enabling free and fair elections, and alleviating the humanitarian crisis," Ms Thomas-Greenfield said.

It had been planned that the Kenyan team be deployed to Haiti this month but this was delayed following a block by the court which argued that the government lacked the authority to send police officers outside Kenya.

Police recruits march during a past passing-out parade at Kiganjo Training College in Nyeri County. Some Kenya Kwanza MPs expressed their reservations against the government's plan to deploy 1000 police officers to Haiti

It further stated that there is a need for reciprocity, as dictated by Kenyan laws, to enable Kenyan police officers to be deployed abroad. This saw Haiti send a memorandum of understanding to Kenya on the need to deploy the police officers there.

President William Ruto, after the court’s ruling, said Kenya would complete all the processes specified by the court so that it still sends police officers to Haiti.

The US had initially said it would give some 200 million US dollars (approx. Sh29.4 billion) and vowed to increase measures to stem the flow of illicit arms to Haiti. The UN believes most of the firearms being smuggled to the Caribbean country come from the US.

At least 800 people were killed, injured or kidnapped in Haiti last month alone, a fact that the UN says needs urgent measures to be taken and control the runaway rates of crime in Haiti.

During the G20 Summit held in Rio de Janeiro last week, more countries including France, Benin and Canada committed financial, personnel and other kind of commitments to the mission. Canada for instance, pledged some 60million US dollars (Approx.Sh8.82billion).

Officials from Kenya, led by former Inspector General of Police, Joseph Boinnet, met with their Haitian counterparts in the US late last year to set a deadline for the arrival of Kenyan forces as well as drafting a memorandum of understanding.