Sunday, November 27, 2022

“Sechele’s appointment to head DPP unfortunate” ÔÇô BMD

The appointment of Mr Leonard Sechele to the office of Director of Public Prosecutions has much about it that attracts deep disquiet.

He brings to the job the extensive and competent experience of a former Chief Magistrate, but hardly any prosecutorial background. The latter is essential to the proper and independent performance of the functions of the office of Director of Public Prosecutions.

Worse, he is appointed from the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS), and he could not come from a worse place. Having regard to the history of this Directorate, bereft of any credibility as it is by reason of the abuse of it by the Government and the dismal and irretrievable reputation it enjoys, the public has scarce confidence in it.
Mr Leonard Sechele was its legal advisor.

Competent professional though he is, his immediate career background raises questions concerning his suitability for the high office of Director of Public Prosecutions, central to the performance of which office is complete independence from executive influence. Given the character of the President and Government we have, can we have any confidence that Mr Sechele will NOT, in conducting the functions of his office, prosecute and not prosecute as might be directed by the executive arm of Government?

How safe are we all from spurious prosecution, and what assurance can we have that the corrupt in Government will ever get their day in court?

Finally, is the Government now engaged in the policy of reversing the gains made under the gender empowerment policies of previous administrations?

The retiring Director of Public Prosecutions, herself a woman of unquestionable experience, competence and integrity, has proximate to her women subordinates of extensive and commendable prosecutorial experience and skill. Why have they been overlooked in favour of an eminently less qualified and less suitable appointee? We know them, and the absence of an explanation will leave us with one inference to make: their proven independence disqualified them from objective consideration.

We are not unaware of the attempts by the executive to influence prosecutorial policy in the past two years, and the unacceptable conditions in which the DPP’s office has had to operate in this regard. Are we without cause to be troubled? Still, Mr Sechele has been appointed. Concerning this, we are powerless to do anything. The public will, however, be watching him closely.
*Pilane is interim Publicity Secretary for Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD)

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