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What you need to know:
Mr Garry Conille, the newly sworn-in Haiti’s Prime Minister who is expected to be in power as Kenyan police get deployed to the country, was over the weekend hospitalised after he fell ill, his office said on Sunday, June 9.

In a communication which was published by his office hours after he had been admitted to hospital, said that he had been rushed to hospital and was receiving treatment.

“Following a week of intense activities, Conille had a slight malaise. His situation is stable for the moment,” the communication read.

Mr Conille, 58, is a long-time expert, having worked with the United Nations (UN) and was tapped by Haiti’s transitional presidential council in May to lead the country’s new transition government.

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He was sworn into office on Monday, June 3, 2024, during a short ceremony that was held at the Prime Minister’s office in Port-au-Prince which is Haiti’s capital.

During the ceremony, he promised to seek unity in his first statement since a transitional council picked him to head the government in the troubled Caribbean country under siege by criminal gangs.

“Together, we will work for a better tomorrow for all the children of our nation,” he said in a statement, as he thanked everyone who proposed that he be given the position.

Numerous challenges
The Kenyan mission in Haiti which is supposed to kick off in the coming days will be at a time when the Caribbean-based country is facing numerous challenges.

For instance, the mission which is being funded by the UN is taking place at a time when Haiti has the highest number of gangs compared to similar assignments that have in the past taken place there.

Haiti is a gang-infested nation which has seen over 2500 people get killed since January 2024 and over 360,000 people displaced.

In 2023, while serving as the Prime Minister, Dr Ariel Henry made a request to Kenya saying that he needed some officers to be deployed to his home country to deal with gangs that had made life unbearable there.

Currently, preparations are at the helm and the Kenyan officers are expected to jet out of the country and head to the Caribbean-based nation any time soon.

However, a group of ten senior officers led by Deputy Inspector General of Police Noordin Gabow are already in Haiti. They are there to oversee the construction of a base where the officers will be operating before the deployment takes place.

The Nation understands that Mr Gabow is expected to lead the UN-funded mission and will be in charge of the troops while another officer from the Jamaican forces will be deputising him.

Journalists, and members of civil rights groups, said that the mission comes at a time when the country has the highest number of gangs compared to other UN missions that have taken place in the Caribbean-based country.

The first time the UN carried out a similar mission in Haiti to restore peace was in 1994 and had over 1,200 members.

Since then, the country has experienced similar missions with the most hated one by Haiti nationals being the one that took place in 2010 when there was a cholera outbreak.

A total of 820,000 cases were recorded. Haiti was in February 2022 declared cholera free and, to date, is seeking justice for the epidemic.

A study conducted by French epidemiologist Renaud Piarroux established that UN troops from Nepal, rather than environmental factors, had caused the epidemic as waste from outhouses at their base flowed into and contaminated River Artibonite.

Also at the time, many women and men claimed they were sexually abused by the UN peacekeeping officers. To date, they are still seeking justice for what happened to them.

What awaits the Kenya-led mission in Haiti remains unknown even as top gang leaders led by Mr Jimmy Cherizier alias Barbecue warn that they will face a “massacre.”

Mr Yvens Rumbold, a journalist by profession and who works for the Foundation of Knowledge and Liberty (FOKAL) says that Haitians do not have trust in political leaders because of how they had suffered.

According to him, for decades what was being experienced in his home country was a crisis.

“If then the newly picked Prime Minister can address issues like insecurity, job security and employment, then things can flow smoothly,” he said.

Mr Rumbold said that Kenya was entering Haiti at a time when gangs were more organized and numerous.

“Currently, there are more problems, more danger and the gangs have occupied a large territorial place,” he said.

He believes that the number of soldiers will be very small compared to that of gangs.

Mr Evans Ogada, an advocate of the Kenyan Court wondered how Kenya ended up working with the UN yet serious issues on matters of Human Rights have been raised against its officers.

“There are very serious issues that have been raised not only locally but also internationally on whether Kenyan police officers respect human rights. It is publicly known that they abuse the rights of people and are left to walk free,” he said.

Mr Ogada wondered how the UN had ended up settling for Kenya on such a sensitive mission.

The advocate is amongst a group of lawyers under the umbrella of the Law Society of Kenya including; Mr Ekuru Aukot and Miruru Waweru who are opposed to the deployment of the officers to Haiti.

Currently, there is an ongoing court case where they moved to court seeking a contempt ruling over state plans to deploy officers to Haiti.

However, despite all this President William Ruto has already made it clear that the officers would still go to Haiti.

—Source NMG 

 

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