Kenyan delegation prepare for police mission in Haiti despite opposition

By Melissa Chemam with RFI
DEC 8, 2023 LISTEN

A delegation from Nairobi went to Haiti this week to prepare for the arrival of a multinational mission to be led by Kenyan police. However, the deployment to help the Haitian National Police combat gangs, still needs the green light from the Kenyan High Court of Justice.

A Kenyan delegation returned to Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, this week for a short visit.

The delegation had an important work meeting with Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry and members of his government, the Prime Minister's communications office reported on Wednesday.

The team left last Saturday, held meetings in Washington before departing to Haiti, and is expected back in Kenya this weekend, officials said. 

Moving ahead

They were accompanied by representatives of the American administration, and also met members of the High Council of the Transition (HCT), namely Mirlande Hyppolite Manigat, Calix Fleuridor and Laurent St Cyr. 

The Kenyans also had a long working session with the high command of the Haitian National Police.

A high-level delegation from the Ministry of Justice and Public Security and the NPH will travel to Nairobi, in the coming days, "in preparation for the arrival of this Mission,” the statement added.

Opposition to the mission

In October, the UN Security Council approved sending a multinational mission, led by Kenya, to Haiti to help the country fight criminal gangs.

But the deployment of this mission has been suspended since the end of October by the Kenyan justice system.

The Kenyan Parliament approved the deployment of 1,000 police officers to Haiti on 16 November, but the decision is supposed to be suspended until the Court's final ruling.

“They are preparing the deployment, even though it is suspended by the courts,” said Ekuru Aukot, president of the Kenyan Third Way Alliance party, which filed the complaint, according to RFI's correspondent in Nairobi.

"This is part of their plan to sabotage the judicial authority. They are putting us against the wall,” he concluded.

High Court Judge Chacha Mwita said deployment of officers to Haiti will be determined on 26 January 2024.

US support

This week's visit has been labelled as "the final step before the first team is dispatched to Haiti," Haitian officials said.

The earliest the team can leave for Haiti is February 2024, officials added.