The Kenyan High Court on Thursday extended orders blocking the deployment of police officers to Haiti, on the same day that parliament approved a government request to send 1,000 policemen to the Caribbean nation to help deal with gang violence.
High Court Judge Chacha Mwita said he would make a ruling on January 26 next year, effectively delaying the sending of security officers to Haiti, where they are expected to lead a multinational force that’s backed by the U.N Security Council.
Either of the parties can appeal the decision due in January at the High Court and beyond to the Supreme Court, meaning this could be a protracted battle to send troops to Haiti.
The court decision came hours after Kenya’s parliament passed a motion allowing the deployment of the security officers.
But the government was immediately criticized for disobeying the court orders first issued in October that barred the deployment.
Former presidential candidate Ekuru Aukot who filed the case in court described the tabling of the motion as “beligerent.”
Aukot said the move as unconstitutional, calling it a huge mistake and a suicide mission.
“All of you have seen the statement, the joint statement from those committees of parliament, it has gone against the court order.”
Herman Manyora, a political pundit, and journalism professor at the University of Nairobi, said the government had no choice but to respect the court’s decision on the delay.
He said even holding the debate in parliament was a brazen defiance of the laws of the country.
Earlier, the Kenyan parliament approved a government a motion tabled by the parliament’s Committee on Administration and Internal Security approving the government request to send the security officers as violence escalated in Haiti.
The heated debate saw opposition legislators rejecting government plans for Kenya to lead a multinational policing team in Haiti, saying it violated the country’s constitution.
Supporters of the motion said Kenya had a moral obligation and duty to aid Haiti.
Gabriel Tongoya, who chairs parliament’s committee on administration and internal security, said all costs of the deployment would be funded by the United Nations.
Interior minister Kithure Kindiki last week told parliament that Kenya would only deploy the officers to Haiti if funding and equipment were paid for by U.N. member states.
Burundi, Chad, Senegal, Jamaica, and Belize have all pledged troops for the multinational mission.
Violence has escalated in Haiti as a heavily armed gang surrounded a hospital in the capital Port-au-prince Wednesday, trapping patients including 40 children and newborns. Police later rescued the people.
Gangs across Haiti have continued to grow more powerful since the July 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, and the number of kidnappings and killings keeps rising.