HARARE – The mystery surrounding Facebook blogger Baba Jukwa grew even murkier on Thursday after he posted a message on the social networking site on the same date that Sunday Mail editor, Edmund Kudzayi was granted US$5 200 bail by a High Court Judge.
Although Kudzayi has admitted to being the pro-Zanu PF Amai Jukwa, Baba Jukwa’s archrival, President Mugabe’s regime believes he is also the anti-Zanu PF Baba Jukwa and accuse him of using the page to plot an armed insurgency using what he and his brother Philip termed the “Gunda Nleya Brigade”.
On Thursday the Baba Jukwa Facebook page after 11 days of inactivity posted a brief message saying “Cde Edmund has done nothing wrong please acquit him and let him serve the nation, Asijiki!, Ndatenda, Baba Jukwa.”
Kudzayi is accused of attempting to subvert a ‘constitutionally-elected’ Government and undermining the President’s authority. He stands accused of publishing falsehoods in an article critical of President Robert Mugabe and could face life imprisonment if convicted of the offences.
Kudzayi is also accused of conniving with his older brother Phillip Tawanda Kudzayi and others who are still at large to overthrow the Mugabe regime in the run-up to last year’s harmonised elections.
The State argues that a gmail account called [email protected] was registered using Tawanda’s mobile number before the creation of the Baba Jukwa Facebook account.
According to the State, Kudzayi and his accomplices allegedly planned and organised themselves to form what they termed the “Gunda Nleya Brigade” as well as the Zimbabwe Revolutionary Army with the aim to overthrow the government by waging a war.
The State also alleges that they had put in place a Dare Rechimurenga (War Council) to study the Zimbabwe situation during elections while also posting Facebook articles encouraging rebellion if the election was stolen.
On May 11 this year, the Sunday Mail published a story titled “Hackers unmask Baba Jukwa”. However, police believe that Kudzayi was Baba Jukwa as he was in control of the Baba Jukwa gmail account.
In the second count, Kudzayi is being accused of publishing articles branding Mugabe a “dictator” in the full knowledge that the facts may not be accurate.
Prosecutor Tawanda Zvekare said the article falsely labelled Mugabe a dictator and tyrant who committed gross human rights abuses.
The article, according to Zvekare, stated that Mugabe stole the 2008 elections and that he presided over the country’s economic collapse.
Kudzayi was also found with four rounds of ammunition at his home while another nine rounds were recovered at his work office.
Edmund Kudzayi’s Defence
Kudzayi however says his arrest has been instigated by people in high authority who are afraid he can use his technological expertise to expose them for feeding the real Facebook character Baba Jukwa with sensitive information within Government and Zanu PF.
In his bail application Edmund (28) denied that he was the shadowy Baba Jukwa and accused those behind his arrest of backstabbing him. He said he had been working with the Ministry of Defence and the police as a consultant to expose Baba Jukwa and those behind the character, but was arrested after providing some information which he obtained using his technological know-how.
The said people who turned the tables against him were doing so in a bid to impress President Mugabe, following his attack on “weevils” trying to destroy Zanu-PF from within.
“These allegations are not only laughable, but a clear abuse of the criminal justice system by those in the corridors of power who are afraid that I can use my technological expertise to expose those who actually supplied the real Baba Jukwa with blow-by-blow details of sensitive meetings within Zanu-PF and the Zimbabwean Government and also the people behind it,” Edmund said.
“This is clearly a trial and error by the State in seeking to resolve the Baba Jukwa mystery. The State is just stabbing in the dark hoping along the way as they arrest innocent people like (me) and victimising the same, they would get the real Baba Jukwa. This is a clear lie. I am not Baba Jukwa at all.”
Kudzayi, who contends that he was instrumental in campaigning for Zanu-PF, said he was surprised that the State had rushed to dismiss a story published in the Sunday Mail edition of May 11 2014 indicating that Baba Jukwa had been unmasked as a hoax.
He said there was no evidence to place before the court that the Baba Jukwa gmail account was not hacked.
Kudzayi said since he was occupying a strategic position within Zimpapers as the Editor of the Sunday Mail, certain people in the top echelons of Zanu-PF and Government who believed that he belonged to a certain faction within the ruling party had a sinister motive against him.
He said they wanted him removed from his post to curtail efforts he might employ to assist unmasking Baba Jukwa.
Kudzayi said he was instrumental in assisting the Ministry of Defence and the police to retrieve documents from the Baba Jukwa gmail account and whatever the State boasted of having on the character was accessed through his effort.
“I was really assisting the Ministry of Defence and I have been taken back by this backstabbing by the State, yet I was trying to resolve the mystery with them through the ministry of defence and police, law and order section,” he said.
Kudzayi said he became aware of the Baba Jukwa issue when Environment, Water and Climate Minister Saviour Kasukuwere called him to assess and make an overview of information as an IT expert provided by a hacker only identified as Kennedy.
He said Kennedy had been brought to Minister Kasukuwere by Herbert Huruva.
Kudzayi said after making a report back to Minister Kasukuwere, he was referred to Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo.
“Further, what the police are claiming to have investigated they actually got it from myself as I supplied them with the relevant information through Assistant Commissioner (Crispen) Makedenge,” he said.
“I am perplexed that I am being falsely incriminated, yet the investigating officer knows very well that my involvement in the matter related only to hacking Baba Jukwa account and the Ministry of Defence officials were also in the picture of my involvement in hacking of Baba Jukwa Gmail account.”
Kudzayi said his narrative would assist to prove that he was arrested by people bend on hoodwinking their superiors as if they had done a brilliant job of nabbing the actual Baba Jukwa.
“The State has missed the ball and is now majoring in minor and trivial things, yet the real Baba Jukwa is laughing off after the State has arrested an innocent man who has no connection to Baba Jukwa page.” he said.
Kudzayi Granted Bail
On Thursday Kudzayi was granted US$5 200 bail by High Court Judge, Justice Joseph Musakwa.
As part of the stringent bail conditions, Justice Musakwa ordered Kudzayi to surrender the password to a Gmail account – [email protected] to investigating officer Assistant Commissioner Chrispen Makedenge.
Kudzayi must also surrender title deeds for his father’s house in Hillside as surety and he must report to Harare Central twice daily.
The court also barred Kudzayi from leaving the radius of 40km from Harare Main Post office without the permission of the court.
He should surrender his passport to the clerk of court and was warned against interfering with the investigation.