Haiti PM Ariel Henry to visit Kenya over delayed troop deployment

Wednesday February 28 2024
President William Ruto and Haiti Prime Minister Ariel Henry in New York, United States.

Kenya's President William Ruto (L) shakes hands with Haiti Prime Minister Ariel Henry in New York, US. PHOTO | PCS


Haiti’s Prime Minister Ariel Henry will soon visit Kenya in a bid to sort out issues that have stalled the deployment of Kenyan police officers to the troubled country.

This was revealed by Haiti's Office of the Prime Minister on Sunday which said that Henry will, after attending the 46th Ordinary Meeting of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) Heads of State and Government in Guyana, visit Nairobi. The meeting will end on Wednesday.

"After the Caricom meeting, Prime Minister Henry will travel to Kenya to finalise modalities for the deployment of the Multinational Security Support (MSS) with the country's authorities and those of other African states," a statement from the Office said.

Henry is expected to meet top security officers in Kenya to discuss and sign agreements before the deployment of police officers.

Read: Haiti police chief welcomes help to beat gangs

This comes a few months after a team from Haiti visited Kenya to hold discussions over the same matter. 


The 1,000 troops expected to be sent to Haiti are teams from the Rapid Deployment Unit, Anti-Stock Theft Unit, General Service Unit (GSU) and Border Patrol Unit. 

Some two weeks ago, Haiti announced that it is working on an official agreement with Kenyan officials to secure the long-awaited deployment.

Earlier this week, US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield announced that Benin will also be contributing 2,000 troops to assist in the multinational security force approved by the UN to curb gang violence in the Caribbean country. Kenya will be leading the process.

She added that the deployment has to be soon with cases of violence increasing in Haiti, where at least 300 gangs control a larger part of the capital and accounted for 83 percent of killings and injuries recorded last year. At least 8,400 people were killed by the gangs in 2023.

"This mission is key to helping the Haitian National Police restore peace and security, enabling free and fair elections, and alleviating the humanitarian crisis," Ms Thomas-Greenfield said.

It had been planned that the Kenyan team be deployed to Haiti in February, but this was delayed following a block by the court which argued that the government lacked the authority to send police officers outside Kenya.

Read: Kenya court halts police deployment to Haiti

It further stated that there is a need for reciprocity, as dictated by Kenyan laws, to enable the police officers to be deployed abroad. This saw Haiti send a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to Kenya on the need to deploy the police officers there.

President William Ruto, after the court’s ruling, said Kenya would complete all the processes specified by the court so that it still sends police officers to Haiti.

The US had initially said it would give some $200 million (approximately Ksh29.4 billion) and vowed to increase measures to stem the flow of illicit arms to Haiti. The UN believes most of the firearms being smuggled to the Caribbean country come from the US.

At least 800 people were killed, injured or kidnapped in Haiti in January alone, a fact that the UN says needs urgent measures to be taken and control the runaway rates of crime in Haiti.

During the G20 Summit held in Rio de Janeiro last week, more countries including France, Benin and Canada committed financial, personnel and other kind of commitments to the mission. Canada for instance pledged some $60million (Approximately $48.82 billion).

Officials from Kenya, led by former Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet, met with their Haitian counterparts in the US late last year to set a deadline for the arrival of Kenyan forces as well as drafting an MoU.