Alagi Yorro Jallow

Gambians are very good at debating morality and very bad at reaching any conclusions about it. In an ethically relative society like ours, all manner of moral felons — corporate criminals, drug peddlers, even killers — have at least some constituency that’s willing to hear them out and show them mercy. Not so to a notorious pedophile like Norwegian, Svein Åge Sandåker, a convicted pedophile granted presidential pardon during the holy feast of Eid ul-Adha.

Nearly everywhere, pedophilia earns its perpetrators the full villagers-with-torches treatment. We don’t want them in our communities, we don’t want them in our society. Even in prison they’re outcasts, becoming the moral underclass of the moral underclass — the untouchables’ untouchables — chased into the rabbit hole of protective isolation and mauled to death if they emerge. And be honest: Do they deserve any better? Maybe not. But maybe society as a whole does. The Gambia teetered between sorrow and rage few days ago after a Norwegian, Svein Åge Sandåker pedophile, committed his incomprehensible sexual act on 6 teenagers was granted presidential pardon according to the Ministry of Justice.

It’s an egregious error for a leader to show such a judgment and ignorance. “The prerogative of mercy, and some convicts will deserve it nonetheless, Mr. Sandaker is undeserving of any mercy, from man or God”. The president shall rescind the conditional pardon of Svein Åge Sandåker.  Pedophiles should not be rewarded with peace and freedom.

‘Name and shame” are the imperative of exposing persons deserving of blame owing to their actions. And inactions. Such persons are perceived (dishonest and corrupt) to be culpable because of their effulgence to mega- sleaze, over-indulgence. And, negligence. Yet here, the named will be unashamed. They’ll deny, lie, and deny culpability (‘pardoning a notorious pedophile”), seek immoral and sordid behavior. Where, why! do we get it so wrong?  Their exposition? When our leaders have become misleaders and mentors have become tormentors. When freedom of expression becomes the target of oppression; opposition becomes our position

 There is something in that criminal justice system that pointed to all our failings: the ambition, the frenetic sordid behavior; the greed. The culture of corruption has led to mediocrity everywhere…” normalizing pedophiles” Norwegian, Svein Åge Sandåker, is a convicted paedophile. He was found guilty of “abusing about 6 children, the youngest victim was about 3 years at the time. Reports have it that Sandaker was previously convicted in Norway twice for sexually abusing minors and had an incestuous relationship with his own son for which he was convicted in 2006”. Granted Presidential pardons go not to the most deserving but to the best connected.