Kenyan police officers to help the Haitian National Police combat gangs in Haiti is still pending deliberations by the Kenyan High Court of Justice.
Kenya’s parliament on Thursday gave the green light for 1,000 of its police officers to go to Haiti, after critics raised objections. The decision, reached after a heated session, clears the way for Kenya to lead the United Nations-backed multinational force to combat Haitian gangs.
During a heated debate where the Committee on Administration and Internal Security proposed the deployment, some legislators opposed the government’s plan to lead a multinational policing team in Haiti, arguing it ran contrary to the country’s constitution. Supporters of the motion argued that Kenya had a moral obligation to assist Haiti in tackling its security challenges.
The debate primarily revolved around funding for the deployment and the rationale behind dispatching security forces to Haiti, 7,500 miles away from Kenya.
Opposition lawmaker Rozzah Buya questioned the move, stating, “Where is the logic in sending 1,000 police officers to Haiti when Kenyans are facing threats and require protection and services from their own police force?”
Gabriel Tongoya, chair of the parliamentary committee on administration and internal security, assured that the costs associated with the deployment would be covered by the United Nations.
However, Ekuru Aukot, who criticized the UN-backed mission, sees it as a “misguided and a perilous endeavor.”
The anticipated deployment still faces legal hurdles in Kenya that emerged in October. Aukot, a presidential candidate, and several other Kenyan government leaders had legally challenged the Kenyan police’s participation, and considered Ruto’s decision illegal. They have asked the country’s highest court to deliberate on the constitutionality of the police participating outside Kenya’s borders, even as the parliament also considered the matter. Aukot has also raised questions about Kenya’s engagement with Haiti, particularly as the Haitian government currently lacks legitimacy in his view.
Aukot’s petition thrust the approval into a standstill, if not outright jeopardy. Kenya’s top court set a hearing for Oct. 24 to hear the opposition’s arguments, postponed until Nov. 9, and then again by another week to Nov. 16.
CLARIFICATION: This story has been updated to clarify that Kenya’s judicial and parliamentary deliberations are separate processes.