HomeNewsGovernmentBABA JUKWA MYSTERY: Arrest fails to silence phantom character

BABA JUKWA MYSTERY: Arrest fails to silence phantom character


THE Baba Jukwa saga deepened yesterday when the mystery blogger posted on his Facebook wall calling on people to pray for Zimbabwe despite the detention of Sunday Mail editor Edmund Kudzayi on accusations of running the page.


Kudzayi was arrested last Thursday more than a week after President Robert Mugabe slammed the appointment of journalists from the independent media to run publications at the State-owned Zimpapers stable.

Kudzayi replaced Brezhnev Malaba as Sunday Mail editor in April.

Prior to last year’s election, Kudzayi was based in Britain and ran a website that used to run several stories critical of Mugabe.
Police have fingered Kudzayi as the person behind Baba Jukwa.

He appeared in a Harare court on Saturday facing charges of terrorism, sabotage, banditry and subverting a constitutionally elected government and was remanded in custody to today for bail application.

Yesterday morning’s Baba Jukwa posting made no reference to the arrest and court appearance of Kudzayi.

“Good morning Zimbabwe. Please say a short simple prayer to God in your own mother tongue, so our nation can be blessed, and there can be more exposures of evils and all hidden treacheries. We are almost there now, just one small step left,” Baba Jukwa posted and signed off with the defiant asijiki (no turning back) line.

The posting had 471 comments, 282 likes and it was shared 22 times. The State is accusing Kudzayi of conniving with his elder brother Philip Tawanda Kudzayi and others, who are still at large, to hatch a plan to overthrow the government by unconstitutional means in the run-up to last year’s elections.

According to the State’s outline, Kudzayi created a Gmail account called babajukwa2013@Gmail.com using an Econet line registered in Philip’s name.

The Gmail account was then allegedly used to create the Baba Jukwa Facebook account.

Kudzayi is also charged with undermining the authority of the president over an article he wrote in the Zimbabwe Mail online publication of August 7 2008 in which he said Mugabe was a dictator who had committed gross human rights abuses and had stolen the 2008 elections.

He faces life in prison if convicted of all the charges.

A senior Zimpapers journalist yesterday posted on his Facebook and Twitter accounts saying: “Was Edmund Kudzayi ‘Amai Jukwa’? Yes, he was. Was Edmund Kudzayi ‘Baba Jukwa’? 100% NOT.”

Amai Jukwa ran a Facebook account defending Zanu PF and had a weekly column in The Herald.

This is not the first time a journalist has been linked with the fierce Zanu PF critic’s infamous Facebook account.

Last month, two journalists based in South Africa who freelance for The Zimbabwean newspaper Mxolisi Ncube and Mkhululi Chimoio were accused of being behind Baba Jukwa.

Online publication NewZimbabwe.com even posted a YouTube video of hackers seemingly gaining access to what appears to be Baba Jukwa’s Gmail account, which was allegedly linked to the two journalists’ phone numbers.

The Baba Jukwa Facebook page was set up by a self-proclaimed disaffected insider of the ruling party.

With the disarming profile picture of a cartoon old man, Baba Jukwa spilled damaging details of high-level party meetings, allegations of voter fraud, and embarrassing gossip, all replete with private phone numbers to harass the officials in question.

The continued activity on the page would raise questions about police’s claims that they have managed to pin down the phantom character.

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