Haitian business leaders 'extremely concerned' over delay to Kenya-led mission

President Ruto and Haiti PM Ariel Henry witnessed the signing ceremony in State House Nairobi.


 Haitian business leaders said in a letter addressed to Kenyan President William Ruto that they were "extremely concerned" over a delay to a United Nations-backed security mission his government has pledged to lead to fight gangs in the Caribbean nation.

In a letter dated Monday but distributed on Wednesday, the leaders of eight top business chambers said they were concerned as the mission has yet to deploy more than six months after its approval and as the end of its initial mandate fast approaches.

The UN Security Council had on October 2 approved a voluntary corps of international troops to deploy to Haiti to help its under-resourced police battle gangs that have cemented their control over nearly all of the capital, Port-au-Prince.

The authorisation is valid for 12 months with a review after nine, but the mission has yet to deploy and some countries that did pledge funds or troops have struggled to get these approved by their parliaments or have been slow to hand over the resources.

Kenya is the only country that has offered to lead the mission, but as of early March, it had not yet presented a letter to the United Nations formalising its contribution.

On March 11, Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who had first requested the deployment back in 2022, announced his resignation, prompting Kenya to put its plans on pause. Days earlier, Henry and Ruto had signed a deal intended to fast-track the force.

Haiti has yet to formally install a transition council to take over from Henry, though it named the designated representatives on Tuesday after extended delays that prompted critics to accuse the government of delaying the process.

Meanwhile, gangs have further escalated their assaults on parts of the capital they do not yet control. Key ports have been closed for over a month, blocking supplies of food an essential goods while millions go hungry and hundreds of thousands are internally displaced.

Pointing to the transition council's "imminent formation," the letter said Haiti's business leaders "look forward to welcoming the Kenyan forces in a relatively short order."