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State House defends Haiti mission as Ruto leaves for US

State House Spokesman Hussein Mohammed and Foreign Affairs PS Korir Singoei speak at Harambee House, May 19, 2024. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

State House has come to the defence of Kenya's mission in Haiti on a day President William Ruto embarked on a five-day tour of the United States of America which includes a much-hyped State Visit.

State House Spokesman Hussein Mohammed said President Ruto has lined up several meetings aimed at improving bilateral ties between the two countries.

Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Dr Korir Singoei who addressed the press conference alongside Hussein at Harambee House yesterday said the Kenya-led mission to Haiti was approved by the United Nations Security Council last year.

“Kenyan-led mission to Haiti is ongoing with police officers set to depart to the country in the next few weeks having the blessing of the United Nations Security Council which gave Kenya the mandate to lead the peacekeeping mission,” said Sing'oei.

Sing'oei said a Presidential Council had already been inaugurated in Haiti and that Kenya is abiding by the directions given by the court on how to carry out this process with the government currently finalising the deployment plan.

Singoei dismissed claims that President Ruto would make a stopover in Haiti's capital Port Au Prince after concluding his trip to the US on Friday. He said the president has a tight schedule for the next five days which upon conclusion he will head back home.

The Law Society of Kenya however termed Kenya's action of deploying its police to Haiti a wrong move since the court had declared it unconstitutional on account of the absence of reciprocal provisions in Kenyan and Haitian laws and a bilateral treaty. 

 “It has come to our attention that despite the court orders, the government has sanctioned the deployment" Read a statement signed by LSK President Faith Odhiambo in part  "It is reported that the Cabinet Secretary Interior and the former Haitian Prime Minister executed a bilateral treaty purportedly authorising the intended deployment of Kenyan Police Officers.” 

She said the Law Society of Kenya is compelled, in defence of the rule of law, to point out that the legal requirements, as interpreted by Justice C. Mwita have not been met therefore any move to deploy police officers to Haiti is unconstitutional and illegal

“We remind the President that he took Oath of Office to protect the Constitution and has on several occasions reiterated that his government would comply with the rule of law in the same regard to obey court orders, as this is the grind upon which this country strives to ensure accountability and transparency,” said Odhiambo.

“The visit is themed “partnership for prosperity” and aims to bolster shared commitments to economic growth, democratic values, peace and security, and reflects the strategic importance of Kenya to the US as a leading regional anchor and the main commercial gateway to Eastern Africa,” said Hussein.

Hussein said since December 2022, Kenya and the USA have enhanced bilateral and multilateral engagements through our participation in the US-Africa Summit, the third Bilateral Strategic Dialogue in April 2023, the National Prayer Breakfast in February 2024, and roadshows in Chicago and New York.

“ Following the roadshows, there has been an increase in investments by United States of America Technology Companies in Kenya, including Microsoft, Google, Cisco, IBM, Kyosk, and SunCulture, among others,” said Hussein.

President Ruto’s visit will commence in Atlanta, Georgia today, where he will visit the Carter Presidential Library and Museum to emphasise shared commitment to governance, democratic values, and anti-corruption efforts, his remarks here will underline the importance of democracies working collaboratively to tackle global challenges.

The President will then visit Ebenezer Baptist Church, to pay homage to the civil rights struggle and emphasise how religion can be a force for good. This visit will underscore the respect for historical struggles for equality and justice.

The third area of engagement for the president on the first day of his trip will focus on the USA-Kenya Health Partnership at the Centre for Disease Control Headquarters. Among key announcements will include the new CDC-KEMRI partnership.