by CYRUS OMBATI
Monday October 16, 2023
Prime Cabinet Secretary and Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs Musalia Mudavadi and National Security Advisor Monica Juma are scheduled to leave for Haiti for a second assessment mission.
The team is set to meet the Haitian authorities and sign various agreements ahead of the planned deployment of Kenya police to combat gangs in the Caribbean nation.
Sources said the trip is planned for this week or at the weekend depending on the availability of needed resources.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki had last week told Members of Parliament a second assessment team would head to the Caribbean nation this week to ensure diplomatic and legal requirements are in place.
“We are doing due diligence and the visits are meant to ensure that we have a comprehensive assessment before any legal steps are initiated,” Kindiki told the committee chaired by Narok West MP Gabriel Tongoyo.
Other officials said the Mudavadi delegation will be the final step before a team of about 200 is dispatched to Haiti.
An earlier assessment team led by the Deputy Inspector General of Administration Police Noor Gabow had given the green light for the team to be sent to Haiti.
This comes ahead of the planned introduction of a motion in Parliament to approve the planned deployment.
Kindiki said at the weekend the cost of deployment will be catered by the United Nations, from the contributions of member states.
“Kenya’s participation in the Haiti peacekeeping mission will not compromise or undermine our commitment and responsibility to protect citizens and their property.”
“The pursuit of bandits, terrorists and other armed criminals will continue, as the Government balances its national and international obligations,” he said.
He said the police will succeed in Haiti as they have in previous peacekeeping missions.
Chile, Jamaica, Grenada, Paraguay, Burundi, Chad, Nigeria and Mauritius are among the countries that have confirmed the deployment of their officers to Haiti.
He said the Kenya Police Service has a long history and rich track record in peacekeeping missions and peace support operations to Namibia, Cambodia, former Yugoslavia, UN Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, East Timor, Croatia, Sierra Leone, Kosovo, and Darfur.
Current Peace Support Operations Deployment include UNMISS-South Sudan, AMISOM- Somalia, UNSOM- Somalia, MONUSCO- Democratic Republic of Congo, UNIFSA- Abyei, INURSO- Western Sahara, UNHQRS- New York and UNLB- Brindisi, Italy.
The Cabinet Friday ratified the deployment of the police to Haiti as sanctioned by the National Security Council.
This now gives further approval for a motion to be tabled in Parliament for discussion and approval of the plans.
“As part of the Multinational Security Support Mission pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution, the Cabinet ratified the deployment of the National Police Service to Haiti as sanctioned by the National Security Council,” read part of a resolution of the meeting chaired by President William Ruto.
The brief said the Resolution of the National Security Council on the proposed deployment has been submitted for approval by Parliament, pursuant to Article 240 of the Constitution.
Inspector General of Police Koome confirmed that the first police officers to be deployed to Haiti have kicked off a strenuous training in Kenya.
The group of about 200 officers was sent to Nandi Hills where they kicked off the training on October 10. Officials aware of the developments said the team would later move to Magadi, Isiolo, Kitui and later Embakasi before being sent to the mission.
They are likely to be sent to Haiti by early in November, an official aware of the plans said.
Top commanders led by Gabow officiated the training in Nandi. The first company of the personnel will undergo all-terrain training and get a debrief before leaving for their mission.
Sources said there is an urgent need to send the first team of commandos to Haiti to prepare the ground for the arrival of a larger group.
More than 1,000 officers will be picked from the Rapid Deployment Unit, Anti Stock Theft Unit, General Service Unit, and Border Patrol Unit to form a larger team for deployment with the exercise expected to happen soon.
These officers have paramilitary training and are likely to work well with other personnel from countries that have agreed to send theirs to Haiti for the same mission.
This came as top security officials met a group of diplomats in Nairobi to seek support for the Haiti mission. Kenya plans to send more than 1,000 police officers to combat gangs in Haiti.
A Nairobi court on Monday, October 9 stopped on a temporary basis the planned deployment of police officers to Haiti.
Justice Chacha Mwita stopped Kindiki from deploying the police until a case filed by Thirdway Alliance was heard.
“A conservatory order is hereby issued restraining the respondents from deploying police officers to Haiti or any other country until 24th October 2023,” read part of the order.
Kindiki announced Parliament will ratify the planned deployment of the police. National Police Service has already selected the personnel to be sent for the mission.