Baba Jukwa, Nyoka and Kunyepa

By Cathy Buckle

Eyebrows are up, suspicions are high and whispers are spreading about the car crash which led to the recent death of a senior politician in Zimbabwe. The ZANU PF MP for Guruve South, Edward Chindori-Chininga died on the 19th June 2013 when his car hit a tree.

Baba Jukwa taking notes in Nyoka and Kunyepa satire of a cabinet meeting
Baba Jukwa taking notes in Nyoka and Kunyepa satire of a cabinet meeting

The death of the MP came just as Zanu PF began the process of candidate selection for their primary elections. Rather than suppressing people’s suspicions, the photos of the car and description of the crash location, together with the events of the past week, have opened the flood gates of doubt.

MP Chindori-Chininga was the chairman of the parliamentary portfolio committee on mines and energy and had become known as ‘the whistleblower’ for tenaciously tracking and fearlessly exposing the involvement of Zanu PF officials in the Marange diamond mines.

Just a week ago Mr Chindori- Chininga presented a report to parliament in which he wrote of ‘diamond barons’ and disclosed how millions of dollars of diamond royalties had disappeared.

According to Mr Chindori-Chininga’s report, one diamond company, Mbada, said it had paid $293 million in taxes over four years but the government said it had only received $82 million.

Everyone got busy on their calculators trying to work out how many things could be fixed in our poor, broken down country with the missing 211 million US dollars – and that was just from one of the diamond companies in Marange, what about the rest?

The mysterious death of Mr Chindori Chininga received widespread coverage on internet Facebook pages. Revelations, names, accusations and phone numbers relating to the mysterious car crash were posted on the massively popular Baba Jukwa Facebook page caused a dramatic increase to 167 thousand followers, a jump of over six thousand people in just two days.

The meteoric rise of Baba Jukwa is the talk of the country and everywhere people are logging in from homes and offices, laptops, desktops and cellphones to get the latest inside information about the wheeling, dealing and dirty deeds of people in positions of power and responsibility.

One contributor describes Baba Jukwa as: “the national spirit of rebellion that has entered and found comfort in the hearts of all Zimbabweans.”

Joining the Baba Jukwa ‘spirit of rebellion’ in recent weeks have been two satirical, snivelling, secret agents who you love to hate. They are CIO characters called Nyoka and Kunyepa (Snake and Liar) whose schemes, plots and grovelling phone calls feature on You Tube clips.

The latest Nyoka and Kunyepa cartoon caused much mirth when it included Baba Jukwa, showing him taking notes at a cabinet meeting. That clip attracted over eight thousand views in the first three days of its release.

Strange as it may seem, the cartoon faces of Nyoka, Kunyepa and Baba Jukwa are becoming the identity of election 2013 and as NewsDay newspaper said in an editorial about Baba Jukwa this week: “It will be naïve to ignore what this Facebook character says as we go towards elections.”

Who knows, perhaps these three faces will even be on ballot slips in a few months time? Until next time, thanks for reading.

Love cathy 22nd June 2013.