Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

‘Name Baba Jukwa ministers’

By Fungi Kwaramba

HARARE – Didymus Mutasa, the Zanu PF administration secretary, says the Sunday Mail editor Edmund Kudzayi should name the ministers who worked with him on the Facebook character Baba Jukwa.

Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa
Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa

This comes as detectives yesterday reportedly questioned some staffers in the Social Media Department at Herald House to “verify some information” over the charges preferred against the editor of the state-controlled Sunday Mail.

Mutasa yesterday said the 28-year-old editor should stop accusing government officials of targeting him and said instead he should name the ministers “he worked with on Baba Jukwa”.

“The party never had anything to do with Baba Jukwa,” Mutasa told the Daily News on Sunday. “Where are the ministers who want to fix him? What we are interested in is pursuing the law. If he tells us the ministers who were involved, we will be pleased to know their names. Ngaarege kutitaurira zvenhando (He should not tell us rubbish).”

Formed in March last year, the Facebook character churned  out a daily blizzard of posts, waging a furious information war ahead of the July 31, 2013 presidential elections against Zanu PF — the party of which he claims to be a member.

The State claims it has traced the mysterious yet stupendously popular blogger Baba Jukwa’s account to Kudzayi.   Following his arrest on Thursday last week, Kudzayi was on Saturday charged with “attempting to commit an act of insurgency, banditry, sabotage or terrorism” and “subverting the constitutional government.”

All of the charges carry a life sentence.

Authorities accused Kudzayi of being the anonymous Facebook blogger “Baba Jukwa.” The blog, by a purported mole within the ruling Zanu PF party, disclosed allegations of assassination plots and corruption within the ruling party.

The Sunday Mail editor denies he is Baba Jukwa, whose page had some 409 260 followers as of yesterday, but has since admitted that he is Amai Jukwa. He claims that he received payment from the military to trace the people behind the Baba Jukwa account. It is not clear how much of taxpayers’ money was used to bankroll his consultancy.

He claims he is being victimised by “powers that be” who wrongly believe that he belongs to a certain Zanu PF faction.

Kudzayi sensationally claims that Cabinet ministers caused his arrest to appease President Robert Mugabe following his outburst that Zanu PF had been infiltrated by “weevils” that had to be rooted out.

Kudzayi is currently languishing in remand prison after the High Court on Friday deferred his bail hearing to Thursday this week to give the State time to prepare a response to his voluminous bail application.

According to the police, Kudzayi, his brother Philip, and 10 others who are dotted across the world, were part of the Baba Jukwa syndicate.

The UK-based The Zimbabwean newspaper publisher Wilf Mbanga and his wife Trish, Johannesburg-based reporter Mxolisi Ncube, and computer programmers Walter Shoko,  Samson Chifamba, George Chirakasha,  Animie Drew, Piniel Nhokodi, Romeo Musemburi and Sarudzai Florence were named by police as being linked to the enigmatic Baba Jukwa, who has gone uncharacteristically quite since his last Facebook post last Monday.

But Kudzayi says the  allegations levelled against him “are not only laughable but a clear abuse of the criminal justice system by those in the high 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 with Zanu PF and the government of Zimbabwe.”

Kudzayi claims that he is being haunted by ministers who wrongly suspect him of belonging to a particular faction.

During the burial of the late national hero Nathan Shamuyarira, Mugabe admonished some ministers for taking factional feuds to the media.

The ruling party, that is hurtling towards a crucial congress in December, is divided along two major factions, one reportedly led by Vice President Joice Mujuru and the other by the powerful Justice minister Emerson Mnangagwa. The two are widely regarded as the front-runners to succeed 90-year old Mugabe.

Mutasa, who is also the minister of State in the President’s Office, yesterday said Kudzayi “should tell us which faction he was working for.”

He claims he was involved with the Team Zanu PF campaign.

Kudzayi has said that Amai Jukwa was a pro-Zanu PF blogger. However, he launched unrestrained attacks on Mutasa himself, Mujuru, ex-Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono,  opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, among top officials. Daily News