President William Ruto, on Saturday, directly responded to Kenyans who raised grievances with Kenya’s decision to send police officers to Haiti.
In a statement sent to Kenyans.co.ke, the head of state first explained that the decision was yet to be ratified by the Parliament after the National Security Council, the Cabinet and the United Nations Security Council approved the Multinational Security Support Operation.
“The Executive has conveyed the request to Parliament for consideration. I look forward to an expeditious consideration of this request in light of the dire situation in Haiti. Our participation in the operation reaffirms the DNA of our nation. Our destiny is inextricably linked to the whole of humanity. This is why Haiti is important; Haiti is not far, and Haiti is our business,” the head of state explained.
“Unsurprisingly and in view of our democratic nature, this matter has generated public interest, largely informed and driven by misconceptions and lack of information. Whereas some of the issues being raised will be considered and canvassed in parliament, I take this opportunity to respond directly to the people of Kenya on this matter,” he added.
An armed gang in Haiti.
Among the issues he sought to clarify were that Haiti and Kenya are far apart geographically, Kenya’s police will face language barriers, cultural differences and unfamiliar terrain.
Others were that Kenya has internal security challenges that should be addressed before deployment and lacks the capacity and capability to address the Haitian crisis, as other missions failed.
His answers were as follows;
The Mission is Multinational in Nature
According to Ruto, Kenya will lead the security mission in Haiti in support of other nations, such as Senegal, Burundi, and Chad in Africa, which are committed to sending their troops. Jamaica, Bermuda, Barbados and Antigua from the Caribbean will also join the mission.
Haiti and CARICOM is the 6th Region of Africa— A mission for Humanity
Ruto argued that Haiti is part of the African Union’s 6th region and has an affinity with Kenya.
“This places a duty of care on every African country. Just like we acted in concert to secure the freedom of the whole continent, Africa is keen to contribute to the freedom and security of Haiti. This explains the critical role of the three African Countries in the UNSC in the negotiation leading up to the adoption of the resolution and the demonstrated commitment of support to this mission from African countries.
“Owing to our strong commitment to 3 Pan-Africanism, we are leading the mission to Haiti, in fulfilment of our obligation to Africa and its diaspora,” he added.
Kenya’s commitment to Peace and Security
Kenya, he stated, was selected to lead the mission owing to its impressive record of participation in Peace Support operations worldwide. He cited 46 missions Kenya police had participated in since the country attained independence in 1963.
From East Timor in Macedonia to Kosovo, Former Yugoslavia, Saharawi, Croatia, Namibia, Darfur and DRC.
“In each of these cases, we engaged different cultures, languages and geographic circumstances. The case of Haiti is the same. Our participation has been professional and non-partisan, giving confidence to populations of the countries where we served and assisting in getting them on a path of sustainable development,” he detailed.
NPS is Prepared to Lead the Mission & Guarantee Security Back in Kenya
The deployment of police to Haiti, according to Ruto, is informed by a careful balance of the country’s national security priorities and capabilities aided by a comprehensive analysis of the evolving security situation.
Kenya, at the moment, is engaged in consultations with a wide range of actors across the globe to ensure that Kenya does not jeopardise the mission.
“Based on the consultations, all measures will be taken to prepare and equip our contingent for success. This duty is being balanced with our national needs, and the deployment shall not, in any way, compromise the capability of the police to continue guaranteeing the public safety of Kenyans.
Protestors fill the streets of Port-au-Prince, Haiti on July 20, 2023.
Haiti Mission Will Boost Kenya’s Police
Ruto also saw the mission as a unique opportunity to continue improving Kenya’s most critical asset.
“This deployment will enable our officers to improve and sharpen their competencies, skills and experiences in providing security, even beyond our borders. The operation will restore security to Haiti, will enhance the capacity of our national police force to serve humanity even beyond our borders, and will reaffirm our position of pride among the Community of Nations.
“I urge all Kenyans to support our National Police Service as it undertakes this noble duty of care as a responsible member of the International Community,” he pledged.