The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party has poked holes into the government's decision to lead a Multinational Security Support (MSS) mission in Haiti.
Nairobi Senator and ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna on Tuesday, October 12, 2023, issued a statement explaining why the party was opposed to the deployment of Kenyan police to the troubled Caribbean island nation of 11.7 million people.
Sifuna raised six concerns regarding the deployment of Kenyan police to Haiti.
1. Constitutional Mandate
Sifuna argued that Kenya's National Police Service has no constitutional mandate to operate outside the borders of the country.
2. Internal Security Challenges
Sifuna wondered why the government is sending 1,000 police officers to stabilize Haiti when Kenya itself is grappling with cases of insecurity in Sondu, Lamu, the North Rift, along the border with Somalia and within the islands of Lake Victoria.
"The recommended ratio of police officers viz population is one for every 450 citizens. Kenya’s ration is around 1 for every 1,000 citizens. We simply do not have policemen to spare. Indeed, given the current security challenges around Sondu, Lamu, the North Rift, along the border with Somalia and within the islands of Lake Victoria, only a truly insensitive and reckless government would deploy 1,000 police officers elsewhere," the ODM Secretary-General said.
3. National security
Sifuna additionally argued that the situation in Haiti does not pose an immediate threat to Kenya's national security as the two nations do not share a border.
4. Previous interventions
The ODM Secretary-General noted that previous interventions in Haiti had been conducted by some of the most powerful nations on earth, with disastrous results on each occasion.
"There is therefore no gainsaying the fact that the breakdown of law and order, or the instability in Haiti, are not superficial issues that require mere policing. The root causes go deeper than that," Sifuna said.
5. Human Rights Record
Sifuna expressed fear that atrocities committed in Kenya by the police could be replicated in Haiti by the force being deployed to the Caribbean island nation.
"Given the documented human rights concerns involving our police forces we do not believe that is a side of Kenya we need to display on the international stage," he said.
6. Lack of Prior Parliamentary Approval
Sifuna noted that the government's commitment to send the police to Haiti was made long before the approval by the Kenyan Parliament and UN Security Council.
"Given the current state of capture of Parliament, any pretence at seeking approval would be an afterthought meant to sanitize the process using Ruto’s voting robots in Parliament," Sifuna said.
ODM strongly opposed the deployment of 1,000 police officers in light of the aforementioned concerns.
"In light of these concerns, ODM urges the Ruto regime to reconsider this offer. We call upon Members of Parliament to oppose the deployment of our men and women in uniform to Haiti should the matter be brought before Parliament. Our focus should remain on addressing Kenya's pressing internal security issues, improving our law enforcement, and safeguarding the well-being of our police officers and citizens," Sifuna stated.
The statement by the ODM Secretary General came just hours after party leader Raila Odinga criticized the deployment of 1,000 police to Haiti.
Speaking during an interview with a local TV station on Wednesday night, Raila said that the security situation in Haiti needs political solutions and not "more guns".
On Monday, October 9, 2023, the High Court sitting in Nairobi issued orders stopping the government's plans to deploy 1,000 police officers to Haiti.
Justice Chacha Mwita of Milimani Constitutional and Human Rights Division issued the conservatory orders stopping the government's decision to deploy the officers to Haiti or any other country pending the hearing and determination of a case lodged by two petitioners namely Thirdway Alliance leader Ekuru Aukot and Miruru Waweru.