IPOA in the dark over police deployment to Haiti

Independent Police Oversight Authority CEO Elema Halake. [File, Standard]

The Independent Police Oversight Authority (Ipoa) is in the dark about the plan to deploy officers to Haiti.

CEO Elema Halake said the authority does not know which unit of police would be sent to the war-torn Caribbean country.

“We are yet to be briefed by the relevant authority. For now, we are in the dark,” Halake said in Mombasa.

At the same time, the United Nations has denied it selected Kenya to lead the mission. Speaking in Mombasa, UNHR Senior Human Rights Advisor Li Fung said Kenya and other countries volunteered to deploy their forces.

“The deployment of security forces was approved by the UN Security Council. The UN was not, however, involved in the selection of Kenya. Kenya and UN Security Council member states offered their support,” he said.

This is contrary to the statement by Deputy President Righathi, who said Kenya was picked by the UN.

Halake said the authority is concerned about the welfare of the police officers being deployed.

He said although the authority has the mandate to look into the welfare of the police, they cannot oversight them when outside the country.

Administration Police officers during a past pass-out parade. [File, Standard]

The watchdog was engaging the Inspector General of Police to ensure Kenyans sent abroad are well prepared and are safe.

“We are closely following the concerns raised by Kenyans in the deployment of the police force to Haiti. The IG is to respond and assure the public about the police welfare, training, coordination and selection of the units,” he said.

On Wednesday, Parliament engaged in a heated debate over the government’s decision to send 1,000 officers to Haiti. The MPs have since summoned Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki to shed light on the matter.

The United Nations Security Council voted for the one-year deployment of a non-UN multinational force to combat gangs and restore security.