By Xolisani Ncube
HARARE – Cartoon characters may rise and fall in popularity, but Baba Jukwa from Zimbabwe seems to have the sort of staying power marketers can only dream of.
In just three months, the faceless, Facebook character, has grown in popularity on social networks, beating influential personalities such as popular preacher Emmanuel Makandiwa.
Makandiwa who at one point filled the giant National Sports Stadium is no equal to the enigmatic cartoon character, who claims to be a disgruntled member of President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF.
With more than 100 000 followers on Facebook, Baba Jukwa is in a league of his own, with the likes of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, trailing far behind. Makandiwa’s page has a mere 6 598 followers while President Robert Mugabe’s has 18 009 followers.
Tsvangirai, who has a special team dedicated to shoring up his support on social platforms has only 87 686 followers against Baba Jukwa’s 115 000. Yesterday, Baba Jukwa was pushing towards 120 000.
Churning out what appears to be Zanu PF and government’s dark secrets, the faceless character, appears to be up-to-date with happenings in Zanu PF, causing anxiety among top officials.
The Facebook character has more followers even than celebrities such as Pokello Nare who has 13 840 followers backing her participation at the on-going TV reality show series together with Hakeem Mandaza who has 290 followers.
Although Baba Jukwa only joined the fray months after Amai Jukwa, another faceless character, Baba Jukwa had reached a milestone, dwarfing his rivals. Amai Jukwa, known for her scathing attacks on Tsvangirai, has a mere 20 092 followers.
Techno-savvy Cabinet ministers, such as the minister of Information, Communication and Technology Nelson Chamisa, Youth and Empowerment minister Savior Kasukuwere and the leader of the smaller MDC formation, Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube, pale in terms of popularity with the mysterious figure.
Chamisa has 2 599 followers, with Kasukuwere having 1 834 while Ncube had 3 766 followers by yesterday midday.
The mole, as he is referred to by some, is dominating discussions in kombis and at lunch time not only among affected Zanu PF officials but also among the ordinary folk who cannot go a day without checking his page for “latest revelations.”
“Tapanduka zvachose”, is his slogan while dishing out details which he claims are from high-level meetings. Many in Zanu PF believe he is a party insider with access to top drawer secrets. But Rugare Gumbo, the Zanu PF spokesperson, declined to comment on Baba Jukwa.
“Let him say what he wants, ndezvababa Jukwa izvo, we are not going to comment on that,” said Gumbo. Daily News