The Council of State is established under Section 153 of the Constitution. In the Third Schedule, it is stated that:
“The Council shall have power to (a) advice the President in the exercise of his powers with respect to the – (ii) prerogative of mercy.”
Therefore, while the Council of State deliberated, Mr President had the final say.
While Mr President’s action is legal, it does nothing for his stated fight against corruption and commitment to the rule of law. If anything, it sends a strong message of state-sanctioned abuse of power. A modified tweet from @Shimoshi1, summarises the cycle as follows:
Another season of R|S|V|P will begin shortly. As we ‘select’ candidates, we should ensure that they understand and respect the moral responsibility that comes with holding public office.