Kenyan police officers who are to be deployed to Haiti may need to undergo a foreign language course, specifically in French.
This is part of the plans established by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to address the language barrier between Kenyan police personnel and the local population.
Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Alfred Mutua has defended the government’s decision to send Kenyan police to Haiti, stating that Kenya is “doing God’s will.”
However, a source within the police force has disclosed that they have not received any official communication from the relevant ministries regarding the deployment of 1000 NPS officers to Haiti. Nevertheless, plans are in high gear to send Kenyan police officers to the Caribbean within the next 3 to 4 months.
The language barrier has raised concerns among security experts, who argue that it will limit communication with the local population.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ decision has also sparked reactions from Kenyan civil rights groups, who believe that it may exacerbate tensions in Haiti. These groups criticize Kenyan police officers for alleged human rights abuses during the Azimio protests, which have yet to be addressed.
United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin, who met with Defense CS Aden Duale and President William Ruto, lauded the decision to dispatch troops to Haiti. The US has pledged financial and logistical support to Kenya in support of its mission.
Haiti has an estimated 9,000 police officers serving a population of 12 million and no standing army, as it was disbanded due to coup attempts. In August, a 10-member Kenyan delegation visited the country to assess the security situation.
According to the United Nations, since the beginning of 2023, over 2,439 people have died as a result of violence, and more than 200,000 have been internally displaced.