Zimbabwe AG sets up WikiLeaks probe panel
Harare - A legal team set up by Zimbabwe's attorney general on Monday started investigating the role of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and others in their discussions with US diplomats, which were leaked by self-proclaimed whistle blower website WikiLeaks.
"Quite clearly ... WikiLeaks appears to be generally accepted as an authentic source of information. If they (Tsvangirai and his party leadership) have (committed an offence), I have an obligation to prosecute," Attorney General Johannes Tomana said in an interview.
"I have asked (for) legal opinion from experts to see if I can proceed," he said, adding that the team of six lawyers was expected to give its recommendations by end-March.
WikiLeaks on November 28 began publishing a cache of secret diplomatic cables dispatched from US embassies worldwide to the State Department in Washington.
The documents on Zimbabwe quoted several Zimbabweans in secret conversations with US embassy officials, and the legal team will probe whether or not there was a conspiracy to undermine national security or commit treason.
According to WikiLeaks, the cables indicated that Tsvangirai and other leaders in his party suggested that Washington should contribute to a fund to buy off security service chiefs in order to bring about a regime change in Zimbabwe.
The cables also exposed Washington's doubts about Tsvangirai's leadership.
While the man who had led democratic opposition to President Robert Mugabe was "the indispensable element for opposition success" he risked becoming "possibly an albatross around their necks once in power," the then US ambassador to Zimbabwe wrote in 2007.
Tomana said he was not worried that probing Tsvangirai would create more tensions in Zimbabwe's fragile coalition government.
"We are not supposed to be protecting any criminal. It does not matter what station of life they occupy in life. Nobody has an obligation to protect them," said Tomana.
Nelson Chamisa, Tsvangirai's party spokesperson said: "You cannot have (a) commission of inquiry based on gossip and hearsay. WikiLeaks is not in any way a credible source of information."
He added that this was merely "a political gimmick and we are going to resist it. We are not going to be part of that charade."