Blow to government as court blocks police deployment to Haiti

The High Court on Friday dealt a blow to the government after it blocked the deployment of police officers to Haiti for a peacekeeping mission.

In a ruling on Friday, January 26, Justice Chacha Mwita said that the planned deployment would be illegal since the National Security Council has no legal authority to send police officers outside Kenya.

 “A declaration is hereby issued that the National Security Council has no mandate to deploy police officers outside Kenya under article 240 (8) of the Constitution. An order is hereby issued prohibiting deployment of police officers to Haiti or any other country otherwise in compliance with part 14 that is sections 107 and 108 of the national police service act,” Justice Mwita said.

He however noted that the council is constitutionally allowed to deploy the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) for regional or national peace support operations.

“The National Security Council with respect to the Defence Forces under article 240 of the Constitution and provision of the National Security Act can deploy forces outside Kenya with approval of Parliament. The council can deploy the police service in defense of Kenya during an emergency,” he added.

With Parliament’s approval, the council can also deploy foreign forces into Kenya for similar operations.

He further mentioned that the deployment is only provided to a reciprocating country which Haiti is not.

The judge cautioned that any further decision made by the NSC or State officials to deploy officers outside Kenya or any action taken in furtherance of the court orders is “invalid, null, and void”.

In 2023, Kenya volunteered to lead a multinational security force in Haiti to quell gang violence.

The case was filed by ThirdWay Alliance Party leader Ekuru Aukot; the party and its chairperson Mururu Waweru were listed as second and third petitioners.

They had sued President William Ruto, Interior CS Professor Kithure Kindiki, Police IG Japhet Koome, National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetangula, and the National Security Council.

In the case, Aukot argued that Kenya needed policing as does Haiti citing insecurity cases that had rocked the country in Coastal and Northern Frontier District counties.

Kenya offered to send 1,000 officers to Haiti to curb insecurity in July 2023 after the Caribbean nation requested international help to fight the gangs.

The United Nations on October 2, endorsed the deployment of the Multinational Security Support (MSS) to Haiti.

The resolution was endorsed by 13 of the 15-member council which included African representatives: Ghana, Gabon, and Mozambique which paved the way for Kenya’s deployment.

Aukot and the Party obtained orders stopping the deployment on October 9. The National Assembly then on November 16, 2023, voted to approve the deployment to Haiti.

National Assembly Deputy Speaker Glady Shollei observed that the report on the deployment met the legal requirements to take into account public views which were collected between November 9 and 12.

The US and Canada had pledged to support the mission with the US offering Sh16.3 billion (with the current exchange rate).

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