A Kenyan court has issued a temporary suspension of the government’s plan to send police officers to Haiti as part of a UN-backed mission aimed at restoring peace to the gang-ridden Caribbean nation.
The UN Security Council recently approved a Kenyan-led multinational security force to aid Haiti, with Kenya pledging 1,000 police officers. However, a Nairobi court has granted an interim injunction following a case filed by opposition politician Ekuru Aukot, who argued that the deployment lacked constitutional support as it was not backed by any law or treaty.
Aukot, a lawyer who played a role in drafting Kenya’s revised 2010 constitution, contended that Kenya was sending its police abroad while struggling to address insecurity within its own borders. High Court judge Enock Mwita acknowledged the significance of the issues raised and issued a conservatory order restraining the deployment of police officers to Haiti or any other country until October 24, 2023.
Haiti, plagued by armed gangs and economic and public health crises, has been in turmoil for years. The details of Kenya’s deployment are pending approval by parliament, as required by law.
The UN-backed mission, initially approved for one year, envisions Kenyan police working alongside their Haitian counterparts to combat gang violence. It aims to provide operational support to the Haitian National Police and facilitate the holding of elections, which have been delayed since 2016.
Kenya’s involvement in the mission has faced criticism at home, with concerns raised about the risks involved and the track record of Kenyan police using force against civilians. President William Ruto defended the deployment as a humanitarian mission, while Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki assured that parliamentary approvals would be sought and safety measures implemented.
Kenya is recognized as a democratic cornerstone in East Africa and has participated in peacekeeping missions in various regions, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, and other parts of the world.