By Richard Muponde
Detained Sunday Mail editor Edmund Kudzayi was one of the people behind Zanu PF’s aggressive media campaign ahead of last year’s elections, it has emerged.
Sources said Kudzayi was the brains behind most of Zanu PF’s catchy adverts that appeared in both the print and electronic media.
He also appeared in some of the adverts that mostly denigrated MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his party.
Zanu PF sources yesterday said it was surprising that Kudzayi was now being cast as Media, Information and Broadcasting Services minister Jonathan Moyo’s protégé.
Kudzayi worked under Zanu PF secretary for information Rugare Gumbo’s office since last year.
A Harare Magistrates’ Court yesterday laid attempted terrorism, insurgency and banditry charges against the editor of the State-run newspaper, accusing him of being an anonymous Facebook blogger who claimed to be a mole in President Robert Mugabe’s ruling party.
In charges read in court by a State prosecutor, Kudzayi was accused of being the mysterious “Baba Jukwa” blogger purporting to be a disgruntled “deep throat” in the Zanu PF party ahead of last year’s elections.
Kudzayi, who was only appointed to his position in April, was arrested on Thursday, a week after Mugabe accused Moyo of hiring journalists sympathetic to the opposition.
Gumbo yesterday confirmed that Kudzayi worked for the party during the run-up to the harmonised elections as part of Zanu PF’s media campaign team.
“It’s true he worked for the party as part of the media campaign team. He was recruited last year,” he said.
Gumbo could not comment further if there were any suspicions within Zanu PF that Kudzayi could have been a mole who gave the party’s big wigs sleepless nights.
Zimpapers titles including Sunday Mail, The Herald and the Chronicle last month ran a series of stories claiming they had unmasked Baba Jukwa.
They claimed the blog was run by two South Africa-based journalists Mxolisi Ncube and Mkhululi Chimoio. The two journalists are suing over the stories.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) yesterday moved to allay fears Kudzayi’s arrest could be a precursor to a clampdown against Zanu PF ministers linked to the Baba Jukwa character.
“The ZRP has arrested Edmund Kudzayi, the Sunday Mail editor in connection with publications that he posted on Baba Jukwa Facebook page,” police spokesperson Charity Charamba said in a statement.
“The police wishes to inform the public that there are no ministers targeted in the investigations.
“In fact, ministers were targeted by Baba Jukwa. The most targeted minister was in fact, Cde Saviour Kasukuwere, his wife and family.
“It is improper for the media to carry out stories that suggest any minister, parliamentarian, government official and members of the ruling party are being targeted. Actually they were victims.
“Such publications which insinuate that certain ministers and parliamentarians are targeted, are intended to throw confusion into the whole matter and solicit ministers and Zanu PF sympathy in the process diluting the gravity of Edmund Kudzayi’s case,” she added.
“The ZRP will not be stopped from conducting thorough and comprehensive investigations in this matter.” - Southern Eye/Reuters