Njundu Drammeh

Nah, not Baa to blame. The buck stays on the President’s desk, the one who, by the stroke of his pen, granted the pardon to a convicted paedophile and a rapist. It was his power to exercise, to reject or approve the recommendations of the Prerogative of Mercy Committee. He approved the recommendations.

The Prerogative of Mercy power is a “judicial or quasi judicial” power vested only in the President and that function, on which a life and freedom hang, cannot be perfunctorily performed. Due diligence was not followed. Thoroughness was absent. Careful examination of records of the pardoned convicts was neglected. It was perfunctory.

Since it is the Ministry of Justice which issued the press release, it is in place for Baa to get to the bottom of this matter, why and how such an administrative malfeasance happened, through a Ministry peopled by staff whose calling expects nothing but thoroughness, keen observation for details, evidence, competence. But beyond that, he should find out who recommended presidential pardon for the paedophile and the rapist and why and whether they had the approval of their heads of agencies.

Leaders earn respect by making sound decision, admitting their mistakes and putting their organisations interest over and above their personal agenda. This clarification by Baa and assurance that he would investigate the terrible error of decision is welcomed. We hope the outcome would be publicly shared.

Nothing is terrible for image and trust than the making of terrible, but avoidable, errors of judgment and bad decisions. People can tolerate honest mistakes but not betrayal of trust. But when these honest mistakes become recurrent and numerous, trust is lost.

Now, the Ministry of Justice should publicly admit its errors, give reasonable clarifications of this error and issue a new press release. That is leadership.