Parliament has given the nod to the deployment of 1,000 police officers to the troubled Haiti.
MPs Thursday, November 16, adopted a report by the joint committee of the National Assembly and the Senate on Security and National Administration which gave a green light to the deployment of the officers having considered the request by Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki and Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome.
The report tabled for debate on Thursday noted that the request was premised on law and based on Kenya’s international obligations as a United Nations member state. This means that the report is now headed to the Senate. Should it sail through at the Senate, lawmakers will have to wait for the outcome of a court case filed by the Third way Alliance party seeking to halt the deployment.
However, the debate happened as Justice Chacha Mwita was hearing a case filed by, among others, Dr Ekuru Aukot challenging the deployment on grounds it is unconstitutional. A ruling will be delivered on January 26.
During the debate, National Assembly Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi was also adamant that the deployment of the officers was tantamount to breaking the law, saying only the Kenya Defence Forces were eligible for deployment outside the country.
“What we are currently doing is circumventing the law ...you cannot use Kenyans as guinea pigs at the altar of rent-seeking. We know for sure that the motivation is money. People want to use our officers as guinea pigs,” he said.
Referencing Article 241 of the Constitution, Wandayi maintained that only the Navy, Airforce and Army - and not the police- can be deployed outside Kenya’s borders.
Kisumu West MP Roza Buyu also opposed to the deployment of police to Haiti.
“We know that charity begins at home. Where is the sense in taking 1,000 police officers to Haiti when Kenyans are dying in need of protection and in need of service from their police officers?” She posed.
Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo sought to bar the debate of the motion in Parliament citing an ongoing court case but in futility.
“How do Kenyans looking at us try to understand Parliament when we apply differential standards, we become a laughing stock. It is unfortunate that sometimes that we can conveniently think that we can ignore court orders and sometimes we cannot,” he said.
Majority Leader Kimani Ichungwa however refuted claims of the government using its officers. He also added the court did not stop the House from debating the motion.
“Our officers took an oath to protect lives and being deployed. That officer guarding your family is a young man or lady who is protecting you. They are not being used as guinea pigs but they are patriotic Kenyans.” he said.
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