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The Kenyan soap opera in Haiti!

  • May 29, 2024
  • 31 Min
  • 10
William Ruto and Joe Biden

(8e part)

Haitian citizens and patriots who hoped that the deployment of foreign troops on national soil would not take place can make up their minds. The 1,000 Kenyan police and soldiers planned by Nairobi for the Multinational Security Support Mission (MMAS) in Haiti are already knocking on the doors of the capital. Some of them, including thousands of other soldiers from the international coalition, have been confined, for the most part, to Jamaica for several weeks. They are only waiting for the green light from Washington, the mastermind behind this whole landing affair.

A sign that the file is accelerating, even slowly, is the arrival in Port-au-Prince on Monday, May 20, 2024 of a Kenyan delegation led by the Deputy Inspector General, Noor Gabow, the one who will command this famous military mission. in Haiti. Certainly, this Kenyan soap opera is far from reaching its epilogue given the political and strategic stakes for the Americans in this part of the Caribbean and for the Kenyan government not wanting to take any risk without being sure and certain that Washington will hold his financial promises to the Republic of Kenya, the one which will be on the front line. This deployment would bring in 15 billion dollars over a period of 5 years to this East African country which has become a regular in international military missions. Moreover, to ensure this, President William Ruto himself made the trip to the American capital on May 22, 23 and 24, 2024 to meet his employer, Joe Biden, under the pretext of celebrating the 60th anniversary of partnership between the Kenyan and American people.

President William Ruto himself traveled to the US capital on May 22, 23 and 24, 2024 to meet his employer, Joe Biden, under the pretext of celebrating 60 years of partnership between the Kenyan and American people.

The truth is, no one is fooled. We know that the Kenyan head of state came to Washington just to finalize the contract binding the two governments in this matter of deploying troops in Haiti and then to go shopping with his wife who had preceded him two days earlier in Atlanta. Thus, to remain consistent in our mission of popularizing information on this soap opera which is about to enter its decisive and effective phase, we are picking up the rest of this column exactly where we left off five months ago. . On Friday, October 6, 2023, the leaders of the Montana Accord made known the position of this collegial political structure on United Nations Resolution 2699 on Haiti. Through a long press note, they clearly positioned themselves against this non-UN force but having the blessing of this international organization to come and act as a police officer in Haiti. If the Directorate expressed itself without any ambiguity on the arrival of foreign forces, those responsible for the Montana Agreement did not forget to highlight the responsibilities of the Transition authorities, in particular, the role of Prime Minister Ariel Henry in this chaotic situation.

They had pointed out insecurity and the connections, according to them, of those in power with certain gangs. “How can a non-UN multinational armed force intervene in a country while guaranteeing its sovereignty and integrity? Resolution 2699, expressed in an unprecedented manner in the history of the United Nations, is the result of laborious negotiations and compromises between international powers. The Montana Agreement notes that the sequestration of the right to self-determination of the Haitian Nation by certain dominant international actors, in violation of the UN Charter itself, was the subject of diplomatic negotiations which resulted to the commitment made to respect the sovereignty, integrity and territorial unity of the State and the Haitian people. The Montana Accord continues to believe that the team in power which has never done anything to slow down the country’s descent into hell has no credibility to commit to the future of the Nation. Insecurity, in this unbearable, aggravated form, is a political construction allowing current leaders to persist in power and prevent any inclination of the population to express their demands.

This power in place will never be able to free itself from its traditional connections with a view to neutralizing gangs of all persuasions, tracking down their local and international suppliers of all stripes, reassuring political actors and leading the country towards reforms prior to uncontested elections. . In such conditions, how can we not doubt the desires of this mission to combat insecurity and relieve the population, if it agrees to collaborate with those who precipitated the dismantling of state institutions, aggravated the chaos and provoked the despair of the population”, they underlined in their press note of October 6, 2023. Let us close this parenthesis with the declarations of the head of the Office of International Lawyers in Haiti (BAI), Me Mario Joseph. He has always defended the position of his human rights organization which is a nationalist and sovereignist position thinking that it is up to the National Community to defend its territory. “We have had several deployments that have only benefited foreigners.

Why spend so much money when there are other ways to restore peace? We have the police, why not train and equip them so that they can fulfill their task properly?” asked the director of the BAI, Me Mario Joseph. In this Kenyan soap opera in Haiti, each day brings its share of surprises and unforeseen events. This is how on October 9, 2023, we learned that in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, President William Ruto was confronted with a complaint filed before the Kenyan High Court of Justice by the opposition led by the lawyer and former presidential candidate, Ekuru Aukot, accusing him of having taken the initiative to deploy military forces outside the country without authorization from Parliament. He considered that the deployment was unconstitutional given that it was not authorized by any Treaty binding the two States or any law of the country.

Front row: Members of the Presidential Transitional Council and the Deputy Inspector General of the Kenya Police, Noor Gabow

While another opposition leader, Raila Odinga, also criticized President William Ruto for the behavior of the Kenyan police towards opponents during an anti-government demonstration. The Prosecutor of the High Court of Justice, Enock Mwita, had given a few days, until October 24, 2023, to the Kenyan presidency and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to normalize with Parliament their request to lead a multinational mission to Haiti and also to rule on the opposition’s request. On the other hand, in order to demonstrate that nothing will stop the deployment of this multinational force, on October 12, 2023, a United Nations delegation was received in Port-au-Prince by the Prime Minister of the Transition Ariel Henry.

Led by UN Assistant Secretary-General Miroslav Jenca, responsible for Europe, Central Asia and the Americas in the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, which is perhaps a bit too much for one man, the Delegation spoke with the Haitian authorities on several points, particularly on the progress of the International Mission which is not, however, a United Nations Mission as indicated in Resolution 2699. This is on the account X from the Prime Minister that we learned that “The head of government and the UN Delegation assessed the evolution of the situation in the country on the eve of the deployment of the Multinational Security Support Mission. They also discussed preparations on the Haitian side to welcome the international force.”

With this Kenyan soap opera, which began in the Haitian political landscape months ago, we had heard a lot, and it was not over, since on October 31, 2023, it is the UN Independent Expert on the situation of rights of the man in Haiti, William O’Neill, who had provided some clarifications on the slowness, according to some, of the deployment of Kenyan police officers and coalition soldiers in Haiti. On an official visit to the country as part of his mission, William O’Neill took the opportunity to meet the press curious to know their opinion on the security situation and especially to know if he had information on the progress of the Mission which he has been a fan for a long time.

At the Karibe Hotel where the Press Conference took place, from the outset, the UN Independent Expert on the human rights situation in Haiti announced that “The Kenyans are in the process of prepare their mission. I am aware of several training and information meetings in Nairobi. They even brought in experts from Haiti for briefings. We must wait for the decision of the Supreme Court of Kenya next week. I know that here in Haiti there is impatience, but the lines are moving. I am confident that the mission will be here in a very short time. » Very talkative this Tuesday, October 31, 2023 in a gloomy atmosphere in Pétion-Ville, William O’Neill had information and messages to convey through the Haitian media who were asking for more. Asked whether the Kenyans have any idea of ​​how they will be received by the population, O’Neill spoke as if he himself were on a mission on behalf of the Kenyan government. “I have already had three meetings with Kenyan envoys to the United Nations in New York. I can tell you that they are very serious people. They asked a lot of questions about Haiti. They recognized that this is new to them. They want to learn. They asked me to send them reports, analyzes on the situation in Haiti. They are aware of what happened during previous missions. They don’t want to repeat past mistakes. They are for a multidimensional approach to the problem, because they cannot do everything » explained the Independent Expert on the human rights situation in Haiti. The one who was on his second official visit to Port-au-Prince and who had just spent more than ten days in the country is inexhaustible on the Multinational Security Support Mission in Haiti (MMAS) and on the role of the different actors during and after this umpteenth United Nations Mission in Haiti.

Second from the left, Deputy Inspector General, Noor Gabow, the one who will command this famous military mission in Haiti

William O’Neill also warns that if decision-makers are content to focus solely on the security issue, this mission will have no positive effect for human rights in Haiti and for Haitian people in general. “The imminent deployment of this mission under strict conditions of respect and protection of human rights is necessary to relieve suffering populations. It is nevertheless fundamental that this mission anticipates and takes stock of current challenges to achieve its long-term objective. Many of these measures must involve a return of the population’s confidence in its institutions. The mission will provide support to the Haitian National Police so that the latter can establish security.

The mission will be necessary but not sufficient. We must have an approach from the State, from United Nations agencies, from non-governmental organizations, from all the actors. Then, with security, it will be necessary to address the problem of poverty, address the problem of education, drinking water, unemployment, structural problems. The mission can do its job, but much remains to be done. If we limit ourselves to security, to the mission, in two or three years we will have the same situation as today,” William O’Neill declared on October 31, 2023. In the meantime, nothing was done by the Kenyan government to satisfy the opposition and the justice system. In fact, on the scheduled date, the Prosecutor of the High Court of Justice had to extend the deadline to November 9, 2023 to deliver his final verdict. Enock Mwita believed that “ The opposition’s request raised important issues for the country and public interest which require urgent consideration. »

The Haitian authorities, for their part, said they were confident in the decision of the Kenyan constitutional authorities relating to this appeal by Kenyan oppositions. “We are waiting for the legal and constitutional authorities to make a decision. We are very confident and have no doubts about the implementation of the Security Council’s decisions. In the meantime, there will be exploration and information-sharing missions,” the Haitian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean Victor Généus, suggested in the press on Wednesday, November 8, 2023.

All things considered, the Chancellor was ultimately right since after a passionate debate in the Kenyan Parliament on Thursday, November 16, 2023, the Kenyan government regained control of the matter. According to the newspaper The Standard on November 16, 2023, immediately after the High Court of Justice postponed the final verdict until January 26, 2024, parliamentarians – Senators and Deputies – voted by a majority in favor of sending Kenyan troops to Haiti. Indeed, according to another newspaper, Africa News who had reported the declarations of an official of the National Assembly, “The Parliament of Kenya has approved the Kenyan government’s request to deploy a force of one thousand men and women to Haiti. » According to this daily, it was the Vice-President of the Chamber of Deputies, Gladys Boo Shollei, who confirmed that the YES camp had won after a very lively debate and a vote. » During the debate in Parliament, the government, through the Minister of the Interior, finally provided some clarification on the deployment of some 1,000 men and the financing of the multinational mission. “We agreed that resources for this mission will be organized and mobilized among UN member states.

If all resources are not mobilized and made available, our troops will not leave the country. The overall mission budget is set at $600 million, which will be used to prepare the forces, cover transportation costs, communications allowances, general allowances and cover the force’s return home. Our troops will not leave the country unless our resources are put to good use. We will deploy the officers once all equipment is deployed to Haiti. We have also already spent some of the money on training, but this will be reimbursed by the United Nations Security Council. Kenya will spend more than $230 million to deploy 1,000 officers over a one-year period. This budget will be used for training, administrative support, transport, the purchase of technical equipment, general equipment and the purchase of weapons, ammunition and anti-riot equipment,” specified the Minister of Interior of Kenya, Kithure Kindiki, on Wednesday 8 and Thursday 9 November 2023 before a Joint Parliamentary Committee of the National Assembly and the Senate of Kenya.

During this audience, the Minister was accompanied by the Chief Inspector General of Police, Japhet Koom. The latter, in his pleading before the deputies and senators, had to declare “We have carefully chosen these officers, interviewed them, verified their medical aptitude and we are convinced that they are perfectly prepared for the mission to come. I want to urge Parliament to authorize us to deploy officers to Haiti, because what is happening in Haiti cannot continue. The human rights violations perpetrated there cannot be tolerated,” said this senior Kenyan police official, the newspaper reported. Nations Africa in its edition of November 10, 2023. During the hearing before the Kenyan Congress, the two senior state officials were questioned on many other aspects concerning this expedition. Thus, the parliamentarians asked the Kenyan government, among others, for a “ Report on the mission carried out by a delegation of senior officials to Haiti in August 2023, and on all missions carried out before and throughout the duration of the multinational mission.

On the other hand, senators and deputies demanded a “well-defined insurance package for police officers who will be deployed in Haiti. Compensation for their families in the event of death or injury that could put police officers considered as breadwinners unable to work and that taxpayers’ money will not be spent on this mission. Meanwhile, on this side of the Atlantic, the Organization of American States (OAS) continues to put pressure on its member states by requesting their participation in any missions that could help satisfy the request of the authorities in Port-au-Prince. -Prince. Indeed, despite the vote on Security Council Resolution 2699 in October 2023, to say the least, things are moving slowly.

If on the Kenyan side the government ends up having the green light from Parliament, even if justice drags out the case, on the Western side, the project manager of the Multinational Security Support Mission in Haiti (MMAS), the we cannot say that the actors, the decision-makers are rushing to the gate to help the Haitians, in comparison with the interest they have and the logistical and financial means they deploy in favor of countries like Ukraine and Israel. Noting that Haiti risks paying the price or is on the verge of falling into oblivion on the chessboard in this ideological and geopolitical fight, the hemispheric organization, through its Permanent Council, had relaunched the file in the form of a Resolution adopted on November 17, 2023.

“The OAS Permanent Council decided to continue to urge member states and permanent observers to redouble their efforts to prioritize, integrate, facilitate, provide and coordinate assistance to Haiti and encourage Member States and permanent observers, as set out in Resolution AG/RES 3007 (LIII-O/23), to make their contributions, according to their possibilities, through the Multinational Security Support Mission (MMAS) in Haiti, providing personnel, equipment, training and the necessary financial and logistical resources, as well as contributions to the United Nations Multilateral Trust Fund for Haiti, as well as to the International Assistance Coordination Group, including but not limited to assistance and efforts aimed at strengthening the capacities of the Haitian National Police (PNH).

The Permanent Council encourages all political stakeholders in Haiti to participate in constructive dialogue and negotiation processes aimed at achieving a mutually acceptable framework for power sharing in order to strengthen the legitimacy of all ongoing initiatives undertaken in support of the democratic development and recovery of Haiti. The OAS Permanent Council directs the General Secretariat through the Secretariat for Strengthening Democracy and the Secretariat for Hemispheric Issues, in coordination with other relevant OAS secretariats and entities, and the Office of the OAS in Haiti, to work in coordination and collaboration with the CARICOM Group of Eminent Persons.

The OAS Permanent Council asks these Secretariats to complement their efforts in mediating dialogue, building political consensus and preparing for delayed elections, by establishing a joint OAS-CARICOM mission. electoral and democratic strengthening. The OAS Permanent Council also requests to facilitate the provision of assistance regarding the infrastructural, legal, security and technical aspects of the preparation of inclusive, free, fair and credible elections, as well as a Democratic Transition in Haiti. , as soon as conditions permit » said this Resolution. (To be continued)


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Catherine Charlemagne