The hunt for Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) hit a snag recently after several individuals were approached but turned down the offer.
The headhunt failed to bear fruit, as capable senior counsels find the low remuneration not compatible with the heavy workload.
Sources at Attorney General Chambers say this failure to identify preferred candidates forced the government to flight advertisements for the job.
“It is a hot seat. Many people do not want to take it,” said an officer who preferred not to be mentioned by name.
At the DPP all eyes are on the acting director, Kabo Leinaneng, senior prosecutors Wesson Mancwe and Matlhogonolo Phuthego.
The two officers were not prepared to say whether or not they will apply for the position. “No, I can’t say anything right now,” said Phuthego.
Mancwe also preferred to remain silent on whether or not he will apply for the position.
“I haven’t really thought about it. I will advise myself on the matter,” Mancwe said.
According to the Constitution of Botswana a person holding the DPP position should be at the level of a judge of the High Court, but the current remuneration for DPP is lower.
“With the ongoing judicial crisis there is a lot of work and pressure. The pay is just too little,” said one of the former senior prosecutors.
Another legal mind told Mmegi that: “we have capable and willing candidates, but because of the culture of government having a hand in everything in this country, it’s next to obvious that the next person in that seat will best favour the government over the public”.
Most fear that constitutionally the DPP should be entirely free and independent but it has proven otherwise.
However, the DPP has also been slammed many times for being inefficient in executing its mandate, which is to prosecute without fear and or intimidation. A number of high profile cases, which have rocked the country have not reached the floor of the courts.
Leornard Sechele was the previous director, who resigned frjom the position in June this year and passed on shortly after. He took the baton from its founding director Leatile Dambe in 2010.
Legal brains that Mmegi spoke to reckon the position is a very delicate one that needs a highly experienced and objective individual.
What other lawyers think
“Somebody with a strong, long and documented prosecutorial background. Somebody with the character that those people I mentioned possess.”
“It’s hard to say who the perfect candidate is; the position needs someone with the suitable experience and professionalism. I would go however with Phuthego.”
“The position needs a seriously independent and highly analytical legal mind, someone with a strong heart and who is fearless and not intimidated.”