By Tendai Rupapa
HARARE – Sunday Mail editor Edmund Kudzayi, who together with his brother Phillip stood accused of attempting to subvert a constitutionally-elected Government using a Facebook character Baba Jukwa, was a relieved man yesterday after the charges were withdrawn before plea.
“I’m delighted this case has finally come to an end,” he said.
“It’s unfortunate the police did not carry out investigations before arresting me. I hope this will be a lesson to them to arrest after investigating, not arrest to investigate.
“More importantly, this case has demonstrated that we have a robust justice system, you cannot fabricate a case and succeed before our courts. This is why the police refused to proceed to trial, they knew their fabricated charges would be thrown out.”
The State, led by Chief Law officer Mr Tawanda Zvekare, indicated to the court that they were still pursuing extra-territorial investigations and would proceed by way of summons if need be.
Harare magistrate Mr Milton Serima advised the brothers that the State was withdrawing charges before plea.
Their lawyer Mr Admire Rubaya of Rubaya and Chatambudza law firm welcomed the prosecution’s decision.
“Your worship, we are very grateful to the State. For the first time in history they have made a very reasonable decision,” he said.
Mr Zvekare applied for the withdrawal of the matter, saying there was need to balance the interest of justice and the liberty of the suspects.
“Your Worship, we are still conducting extra-territorial investigations but there is need to balance the interest of justice and the interest of the accused persons. They have been coming to court religiously and they have shown that they can be trusted, that they will not abscond trial once called upon to do so,” he said.
He added, “However the State will proceed by way of summons and the charges against the accused persons are withdrawn before plea.”
Kudzayi was accused of being the brains behind the shadowy Facebook character known as Baba Jukwa, through which he was alleged to have published or communicated false statements prejudicial to the State.
It was alleged that in April 2013, Kudzayi hatched a plan with his brother, Phillip, to overthrow the Government through unconstitutional means and created a Gmail account, firstname.lastname@example.org using a mobile phone line registered in Philip’s name.
The two were said to have formed two separate groups called the Gunda Nleya Brigade and the Zimbabwe Revolutionary Army to overthrow the Government.
It was alleged they posted articles to the effect that they had a Dare reChimurenga in place and that a team was on the ground studying the situation in Zimbabwe.
On May 11 last year, the court heard that The Sunday Mail published a story about the true identity of Baba Jukwa titled “Hackers unmask Baba Jukwa”.
Investigations, however, revealed that the accused was the one in control of the Baba Jukwa Gmail account as his details were on the recovery panel of the said account, that it was his email address and his brother’s Econet mobile number which he was using, the State alleged.
It was the State’s case that Kudzayi allegedly undermined the authority of the President in an article he wrote on August 7 2008.
The Zimbabwe Mail, an online publication, allegedly published the article with knowledge that the information was false.
In the said article, according to the State, Kudzayi went on to “falsely label the President a dictator who commits gross human rights abuses” and further accused him of having stolen the 2008 elections and that he had been presiding over an economic collapse. The Herald