Kenya’s President William Ruto says the upcoming Multinational Security Support (MSS) mission to Haiti will leave a different kind of “footprint”, signaling use of lessons learnt from previous failed bids to stabilise the troubled Caribbean country.
The UN Security Council (UNSC) on Monday authorised the deployment of MSS, passing Resolution 2699/23 with a vote of 13 members and two abstentions (China and Russia). The MSS is to be led by Kenya who will prepare 1,000 police personnel to be sent to Haiti to quell gang violence.
Other countries such as Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, Suriname, Belize, Span, Senegal, Bahamas and Mongolia have signaled sending troops. But it is Nairobi which lobbied heavily among peers to endorse the Mission, receiving the backing of Africa’s representatives in the UN Security Council: Mozambique, Gabon and Ghana. The Council Resolution was passed under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, elevating the gang violence in Haiti to the level of a threat to global peace and security.
On Tuesday, President Ruto said the move by the Council signaled important consensus on addressing human dignity as a precursor to attaining global security.
“We shall succeed in Haiti. We must not fail the people of Haiti,” Ruto said in a statement, hours after the UNSC voted for the mission.
“We express our determination that this mission will provide a different footprint in the history of interventions in Haiti and emphasise that it is aimed solely at providing an appropriate environment for the leadership, both political and civil society sectors to usher in stability, development and democratic governance, through a political framework owned by the people of Haiti.”
The Council also approved widening a UN arms embargo to include all gangs, rather than just some targeted individuals, following a push from Beijing which abstained from the vote but argued that stabilising the government in Haiti could help a political transition.
“The resolution marks an important moment in the history of global multilateralism, as we engage international collective action that places human security and dignity at the same level as state security and sovereignty and enables the nations of the world to discharge a collective moral duty of securing justice and security for all peoples of all nations,” he said.
Kenya has swatted away criticism that its police officers are novices handling gang violence. Furthermore, Ruto argued Kenya has enough experience from deploying to missions from Timor-Leste Timor (the former Yugoslavia), Eritrea, Angola and Sierra Leone.
Critics have also said the deployment could be illegal as it lacked public participation.
However, Kenya will have to table the deployment to the National Assembly for approval, according to Article 240 (8) of the Constitution.
Nairobi has attached emotion to the deployment, calling it a solidarity move.
“The people of Haiti, our dear friends, today stand in need. It is our fundamental moral obligation to be their friend indeed, by standing with them,” said Ruto.
“We experienced the harrowing brunt of colonialism, as well as the struggle for freedom against those that can influence international institutions to frustrate justice….in our struggle, we always had friends, not an overwhelming multitude of powerful allies, yet nevertheless true, loyal and determined friends.”
However, the mission will not deploy until at least three months from now as countries pool funds and other resources.
Haiti has had five previous foreign interventions, all of which failed to bring stability to a country that has more seven assassinations of presidents and prime ministers and ran into 14 coups.
The US said it will pump $100 million into the MSS while Canada said it will provide other resources to the mission.
More money however will be needed to run it.