TRANSPARENT PROCESS

Power of Mercy team to create legal and policy frameworks

CEO Lydia Muriuki says there is a need to review the law to create a more integrated framework.

In Summary
  • Muriuki noted concerns about how to help pregnant mothers and children in prisons.
  • Among the factors they consider in assessing a petition for pardon are age of the convict, circumstances, nature and seriousness of the offence.
POMAC CEO Lydia Muriuki flanked by Garissa deputy county commissioner Bernard ole Kipury and Ann Okutoyi, a ommittee member
POMAC CEO Lydia Muriuki flanked by Garissa deputy county commissioner Bernard ole Kipury and Ann Okutoyi, a ommittee member
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

The Power of Mercy Advisory Committee wants to create legal and policy frameworks for smooth implementation of Article 133 of the Constitution of Kenya.

Speaking during a public participation forum in Garissa town on Thursday, POMAC chief executive officer Lydia Muriuki said there was a need to review the Power of Mercy Act 2011 to create a more integrated framework.

“We need to have a clear definition of whom we serve. The 2011 Act states that we can serve the prisoners and those in remand but there is another group of people who have been detained for long who also want to be included,” Muriuki said.

“There is also a need to harmonise this Act with the Prisons Act and create a multi-agency approach when it comes to handling petitions from people seeking presidential mercy. This will create an open, transparent and inclusive process.” 

Muriuki noted that there are concerns about how to help pregnant mothers and children in prisons and elderly people who do not have support systems once released from jail.

Among the factors they consider in assessing a petition for pardon are age of the convict, circumstances, nature and seriousness of the offence, period served, interest of the state or community and reports from prison and probation.

In their contribution, Garissa residents urged the committee to create a process that will help ex-convicts get their certificates of good conduct at pardon. They further asked the government to listen to victims or compensate them before pardoning them.

The committee has within its structure pardon officers who are stationed at the correctional facilities and report on all matters related to Power of Mercy, including assisting applicants in the preparation of the petition and sensitising prisoners to the Power of Mercy.

According Power of Mercy Act 2011, once the recommendations are made, the President may grant a free or conditional pardon to a convicted prisoner, postpone the enforcement of the punishment, substitute a less severe punishment or remit all or part of the punishment.

However, a prisoner must have served at least one third of their prison term or five years for those serving life imprisonment to be eligible.

Edited by Henry Makori