In Kenya, the power to pardon is vested in the President under Article 133 of the Constitution of Kenya. The President may grant a pardon, reprieve, respite, or remission of punishment to a person convicted of an offense, or may suspend, remit or commute the sentence of a person convicted of an offense.
In other countries, such as Canada, there is an independent body that advises the government on whether to grant a pardon. Despite these differences, there are some common principles that guide the exercise of the power to pardon. These principles include considerations of justice, mercy, and public interest.
Robert Louis Stevenson (born Robert Lewis Balfour Stevenson; 13 November 1850 – 3 December 1894) who was a Scottish novelist, essayist, poet, and travel writer, once said…’ Nothing can make injustice just but mercy.” “Keep your eyes open to your mercies. The man who forgets to be thankful has fallen asleep in life.” “Where mercy, love, and pity dwell, there God is dwelling too BUT as I write this, the country is very livid and shocked by the actions of the President. Togues are wagging on his latest action of exercising his prerogative power of mercy, to hardcore criminals and perennial thieves.
In Kenya, the power to pardon is vested in the President under Article 133 of the Constitution of Kenya. The President may grant a pardon, reprieve, respite, or remission of punishment to a person convicted of an offense, or may suspend, remit or commute the sentence of a person convicted of an offense. The President exercises this power on the advice of the Advisory Committee on the Power of Mercy, which is established under the Power of Mercy Act 2011.
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The Advisory Committee on the Power of Mercy considers various factors when advising the President on whether to grant a pardon. These factors include the nature and gravity of the offense, the character, and history of the offender, any special circumstances that may have contributed to the commission of the offense, and any other relevant factors.
Globally, there are different practices and procedures for granting pardons. In some countries, such as the United States, the President has broad discretion to grant pardons for federal offenses. In other countries, such as Canada, there is an independent body that advises the government on whether to grant a pardon. Despite these differences, there are some common principles that guide the exercise of the power to pardon. These principles include considerations of justice, mercy, and public interest.
This is the question, did the Advisory committee advise the President wrong or exactly what happened? Were the principles of justice, mercy, and public interest factored in or they simply released people who had bribed them or were related to them? Kenyans are shocked to see the President pardoning rapists and murderers and thieves of public resources.
A Kenyan on Twitter, going by the handle; @simeonominde took his time and did a mini thread on some of the names pardoned and Kenyans are angry, livid, and shocked at what exactly is the intention of the President (https://twitter.com/simeonominde/status/1683798653863862273?s=20) here is a snippet of the names pardoned and please bring all your anger and emotions because this is a blatant abuse of power entrusted to him by the people of Kenya.
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Let us focus on these 7 names and ask a few questions; was this done in the interest of the public or at the behest of powers that be because of bribes or personal interests? These guys have not even been that long in prison to warrant any mercy. What about their victims, what kind of justice do they get? What about those who stole money meant for research to find cures for diseases that are killing Kenyans? What about the essence of public duty to ensure that the right decisions are made to safeguard the prosperity of the country and its future?
I ask these questions knowing very well the Directorate of Criminal Investigations might be sent to pick me up and lock me up for questioning the decisions of a God-appointed President but this is wrong and someone needs to call him out on it. His advisors have left him exposed and this decision will hurt the country deeply.
In the case of Davy Koech, who was jailed for theft of public funds in an institution that is core to this country. Releasing him passes what kind of message? Steal and we will pardon you if you share with us. What of Ismael Kalamasho Kabiru, he & three others, who were convicted of murder? Was the safety of the public considered when they are being released or it was about money, tribe, and personal interests? What of Simon Ndugu Ngugi, criminal case 52 of 2013, together with a co-accused were charged with having carnal knowledge of a 6-year-old girl whose court papers identified as E.W.M? How was the interest of the public factored in? Or why show them mercy when they are evil people?
What exactly is the motive of the President? What exactly is he trying to tell Kenyans by making this decision to pardon the worst of us? What is he saying to the innocent victims who suffered at the behest of these cruel, evil people? Is the President really that insensitive to the victims of the crimes perpetrated by these evil people? Is the President so indifferent to the mood of the public that he would release harmful people back into the community? Yes, he is allegedly a Christian and we are told to forgive but we must atone for our sins and carry the consequences of the same. So is he god to remove the burden of punishment from these evil people as a sign of mercy just because he is a President who is allegedly a Christian?
This move is wrong and it violates his oath of office to safeguard the sanctity of safety of all Kenyans. Many of us are left wondering why this happened. At whose behest was this carried out? Did the families of these convicted criminals bribe their kin to be released? Why is there no regional balance? Why release hardcore criminals who haven’t even finished a 1/3 of their sentences to warrant a review of their fate? As a law-abiding Kenyan am livid and confused. In the large scheme of things, I am no one but as my President, his office owes us an explanation on each name pardoned and why.
My heart goes out to the victims of these convicted criminals. I pray that God will comfort them and grant them Justice as He says in Exodus 14:14 that they do not have to do anything, but He, as God, will fight for them. At this rate, our fate lies in the palms of God because we have honest leaders who do not care about our welfare, our views, or our well-being, and most saddening, they are glorified vices and criminalized virtues, they are rewarding evil and corruption and condemning hard work and honesty.
I believe we have three options if we want to demand the President to recall these names and the Advisory Team held to account for misadvising the President in regard to these pardoned names. There are critical concerns about the abuse of this power by the President and this means that as citizens, we can seek redress through the legal system. Its primary role is to exercise the judicial authority given to it by the people of Kenya and to deliver justice in line with the Constitution and other laws. As Citizens, we can also raise these concerns with our elected representatives in Parliament, who have the power to hold the government accountable, unfortunately, we all know how corrupt, inept, and greedy our Parliament is. Additionally, as citizens, we can engage in peaceful protests and raise awareness about these concerns through media and civil society organizations. It’s important for us, as Citizens to actively participate in the democratic process and hold our leaders accountable to ensure that justice is served for all.
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