Ruto defends Haiti mission

President William Ruto, in Embakasi, Nairobi, at the Kenya Defence Forces Day celebrations, also unveiled a monument to commemorate heroes who lost their lives in the line of duty. [PCS]

President William Ruto has defended his decision to send police officers to Haiti, even as he told off critics concerned by the distance to the troubled country and the language barrier the officers will face.

The President said this was not the first time Kenya was sending police officers to restore law and order in a troubled country.

"Our value proposition for this mission is an impressive record of participation in peace support operations across the world, 46 missions in all since we got independence," said the President.

He added: "Many of these are in far-flung areas, including East Timor, Macedonia, Kosovo, former Yugoslavia, Sahrawi, Croatia, Namibia, Darfur and DRC. In each of these, we engaged different cultures, languages and geographic circumstances. The case of Haiti is the same."

The Head of State acknowledged some of the concerns that have been raised by Kenyans, such as a lack of common interest between Haiti and Kenya and that the 1,000 officers would be unable to communicate effectively because of the French-speaking country.

"Among the questions and clarifications being sought include the claim that Kenya has internal security challenges which the National Police Service should first address before lending a hand to Haiti and that Kenya lacks the requisite capacity and capability to address the Haitian security situation."

He was also aware that the other missions to Haiti had failed but was confident that the current one would not face a similar fate.

He assured his countrymen that Kenya would not be alone as there were other nations, such as Senegal, Burundi and Chad, which had committed to the mission. Other pledges have come from Jamaica, Bermuda, Barbados and Antigua in the Caribbean.

"Our participation in this mission contributes to our renowned anchor role in contributing to international peace and security, a commitment underscored by the Kenya Kwanza administration. We have received strong support from across the world."

The Haiti mission is a multinational effort and was unanimously mandated by a UN resolution, UNSCR 2699 (2023), which endorses Kenya to lead and coordinate the mission.