An independent underground radio station has exclusively obtained the names of the secretive panel set up by controversial Attorney General Johannes Tomana to probe possible violations of the country’s laws by Zimbabweans fingered in WikiLeaks.
But Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights chief Irene Petras says the constitution and terms of Tomana’s official powers don’t allow him to call in outside advisers. She calls the investigation "an abuse of power."
Tomana says the panel is anonymous for ethical reasons. He says it will submit its opinions by March on contacts between U.S. diplomats and members of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party who allegedly conspired to oust longtime ruler President Robert Mugabe.
The panel is composed of Zanu (PF) functionaries namely Terence Hussein, Simplicious Chihambakwe, Farai Mutamangira, Gerald Mlotshwa and Nyaradzo Priscilla Munangati.
Tomana announced in the state media recently that he had set up the probe team but refused to reveal the identities of the five-member panel Zimbabweans fear is targeted at charging Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai with treason after he was widely quoted in the WikiLeaks dispatches.
Hussein is President Robert Mugabe’s lawyer and has represented several government and Zanu (PF) officials, among them former spin-doctor Jonathan Moyo.
Mutamangira, who is a senior partner in Munangati and Associates is the lawyer representing Mines Minister Obert Mpofu, and the government in the fight against the international crusade over Zimbabwe’s Marange diamonds.
Chihambakwe headed the probe into the 1980s political disturbances in Matabeleland and Midlands disturbances while Mlotshwa is well-known as the lawyer for Didymus Mutasa, the Zanu (PF) secretary for administration and the Minister of State in the President’s Office.
Observers said on Thursday it was not surprising that they were no independent lawyers on the probe team whose set-up was part of the resolution of the Zanu (PF) congress held in Mutare in December, 2010.