The deployment of Kenya's police to Haiti comes with a substantial financial commitment, with the United States government estimating the mission to cost an average of Ksh57 billion.
On Thursday, August 3, Todd Robinson, the US's Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, disclosed that Kenya will be among the countries footing the bill.
Kenya is yet to deploy its 1,000 officers despite committing to the peace keeping mission. Reports indicated that the government was still contemplating whether to agree to the hybrid arrangement, which will see participating countries billed to cater for the cost of the mission, from training officers, transportation costs and assessment of the task ahead.
Regarding the issue, Todd Robinson added that the Kenyan delegation will be involved in a series of engagements before officially accepting the deal.
The discussions will be centred around Kenya deploying its officials to assess the mission during the week of August 19, 2023. Some members will visit the US to hold further talks on the mission.
Another group will visit Port-au-Prince to meet with Haitian authorities to gain insight into the specific security needs of the Caribbean country and understand how Kenya and participating nations can offer effective support.
"What we needed to do right now was to try and find a country that would lead this thing. Now that we think that we found that, we’ll see after the assessment,” Robinson told Miami Herald.
“They (Kenya) will make a decision, a full commitment to either do it or not do it, after that assessment," the US's Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs added.
In the event that Kenya decides to proceed with the deployment, Todd Robinson confirmed that the 1,000 Kenyan officers would undergo a thorough vetting process to ensure they are qualified, reliable and understand the need to protect human rights.
The US official noted that the Kenyan government was cautious about accepting the mission before it is fully appraised and prepared to meet the myriad of challenges.
"What is this going to look like? What’s going to be needed? How many more forces beyond what could potentially be committed by a lead country are going to be necessary? And how do they want this to look? We don’t want to preclude any of that," he emphasised.
One of the issues participating nations sought clarity on was the structure of the mission. However, it was clarified that the multinational forces would operate under the mandate of the United Nations Security Council with the approval and oversight of the United Nations. The UN will thus take responsibility for any shortcomings.
US government reached out to Kenya for months, seeking to convince President William Ruto's administration to lead the peacekeeping mission in Haiti. High-ranking officials led by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken recognised Kenya's capabilities and willingness to embark on the international duty, despite human rights activists warning that Kenya's police may export extra-judicial killings and injure residents.
Robinson also led a US delegation to Kenya on July 22, 2023, and met with President Ruto's administration to persuade Kenya to join the mission.
He noted that they were surprised by Kenya's willingness to deploy its officers to Haiti even before it conducted an assessment test. Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Alfred Mutua's statement on July 29, 2023, announcing Kenya's acceptance, seemingly caught the US officials off guard.
Haiti's insecurity woes began after former President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in July 2021. Gangs took control of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, leading to increased kidnappings, armed robbery and carjacking cases.
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