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Ruto Defends Haiti Police Deployment Alongside Biden, Amid Criticism

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Mbeki edmond

May 24, 2024

Ruto highlighted Kenya’s long-standing commitment to global peacekeeping

Ruto’s visit also marks the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Kenya and the US. In a significant gesture, the US elevated Kenya to a major non-NATO ally status, the only Sub-Saharan African country with this designation. This status enhances Kenya’s defense cooperation privileges with the US, although it stops short of a formal defense pact.
At Rutos Previous visit in the Us

Washington, D.C. — Kenya's President William Ruto, on Thursday, firmly defended his decision to deploy 1,000 police officers to Haiti. Speaking at a joint press conference with US President Joe Biden, Ruto addressed criticism suggesting Nairobi was shouldering responsibilities meant for Washington.


Ruto emphasized that Kenya's involvement in Haiti is a voluntary contribution to global peace and security. He stated, “Committing Kenya to Haiti is not so much about what happened in the past. I am the president of Kenya and I decide. It is up to the people of Kenya to commit their troops through their own established (legal) structures.”


Criticism and Concerns

The announcement comes amidst concerns from both Haitian civil society groups and local critics. Haitian groups, including the Movement Unforgettable Dessalines Jean Jacques (MUDJJ), have urged Kenya to reconsider, arguing that foreign military presence could exacerbate the situation. They highlighted Haiti's history of resilience and independence, referencing their 1804 victory against Napoleon’s army led by Emperor Jean-Jacques Dessalines.


In Kenya, legal challenges have also been presented. Lawyer and Thirdway Alliance leader Ekuru Aukot previously blocked the deployment, citing constitutional issues. Ruto assured that these gaps have been addressed through a bilateral agreement with the US, though Aukot continues to contest the deployment in court.


US Involvement and Strategic Interests

President Biden acknowledged the complexities of directly sending US troops to Haiti, noting potential backlash. Instead, the US has pledged $300 million in support, including equipment and capacity building, to aid the Multinational Security Support Mission (MSS) led by Kenya.


Haiti, plagued by coups, assassinations, and gang violence, urgently needs stabilization. The MSS, while not a UN peacekeeping mission, has received authorization from the UN Security Council, thanks to US advocacy.


Kenya’s Peacekeeping Record

Ruto highlighted Kenya’s long-standing commitment to global peacekeeping, having participated in missions across 47 countries. He stressed the moral obligation of all nations to contribute to global peace and security, likening Haiti’s plight to domestic issues such as banditry and regional instability in East Africa.


Diplomatic Milestone

Ruto’s visit also marks the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Kenya and the US. In a significant gesture, the US elevated Kenya to a major non-NATO ally status, the only Sub-Saharan African country with this designation. This status enhances Kenya’s defense cooperation privileges with the US, although it stops short of a formal defense pact.


As Ruto prepares to return to Nairobi, the international community watches closely. The deployment to Haiti represents a complex intersection of humanitarian duty, geopolitical strategy, and legal scrutiny, reflecting Kenya's evolving role on the global stage.

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