The event threatens to further destabilize the poorest country in the Americas, already facing a dual political and security crisis. The President of Haiti, Jovenel Moïse, was assassinated by a commando on the night of Tuesday, July 6 to Wednesday, July 7, announced the outgoing Prime Minister, Claude Joseph.
“The president was assassinated in his home by foreigners who spoke English and Spanish. They attacked the residence of the President of the Republic, ” he said in a statement on Wednesday, assuring that “ the security situation is under control ”.
The president’s wife was injured in the attack which took place at around 1 local time (7 a.m. French time) and hospitalized, said Joseph. He called on the population for calm and added that the police and the army would ensure the maintenance of order. The streets of the capital, Port-au-Prince, were quiet Wednesday morning, with no reinforced presence of police or security forces, witnesses said.
Coming from the business world, Jovenel Moïse, 53, was elected president in 2016 and took office on February 7, 2017. On Monday, he appointed a new prime minister, Ariel Henry, a 71-year-old surgeon. The previous head of government, Claude Joseph, did not even last three months in this post. The new Prime Minister assured Tuesday that the priority of the government remained the preparation of the elections, which will have to take place in a “favourable environment”, an eventuality that seems remote, given the current instability in the country.
A few hours after the announcement of the assassination of the president, the Dominican Republic ordered the “immediate closure” of its border with Haiti, on the island of Hispaniola. It is “a terrible attack, a tragic attack, having targeted the President of Haiti and his wife during the night,” reacted Jen Psaki, the spokesperson for the White House, in Washington. “We are ready to assist in any form the people of Haiti, the government of Haiti, if there is an investigation,” she added.
On Twitter, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “shocked and saddened by the death of President Moïse”. “It is a heinous act and I call for calm,” he added, offering his condolences to the president’s family and to the Haitian people.
Colombian President Ivan Duque called on the Organization of American States to urgently send a mission to Haiti to “protect the democratic order” . “It is a cowardly and barbaric act against the whole of the Haitian people,” he said.
A country plagued by insecurity
Haiti, a Caribbean country and the poorest nation on the American continent, is plagued by insecurity, particularly kidnappings for ransom carried out by gangs enjoying virtual impunity. President Jovenel Moïse, accused of inaction in the face of the crisis, was faced with strong mistrust from a large part of the civilian population.
In this context, raising fears of a shift towards generalized chaos, the UN Security Council, the United States and Europe consider that the holding of free and transparent legislative and presidential elections, by the end of 2021, has priority.
Ariel Henry, Jovenel Moïse’s seventh prime minister in four years, is close to the political opposition. However, most opposition political parties rejected his nomination and continued to demand the president’s departure.
Mr Moïse had set him the objective of “forming a government of openness”, of ” solving the crying problem of insecurity” and of working for “the realization of general elections and the referendum”.
This constitutional referendum, first scheduled for June 27 and postponed to September 26 , was wanted by the president but widely contested by the opposition and even in the presidential camp because the procedure is accused of not respecting the provisions of the current Constitution. The text of this constitutional reform aimed at strengthening the executive is still being drafted. Two drafts already presented proposed to abolish the Senate and to open the possibility of carrying out two successive presidential terms.
Source: Naija News