The Herald (Harare)

13 May 2014

Zimbabwe: Baba Jukwa Saga - Zanu-PF Probes Officials

Photo: NewZimbabwe
Baba Jukwa facebook page

Zanu-PF is probing which of its senior officials fed information, some of it false, to the discredited "Baba Jukwa" Facebook page, while police have said they are ready to investigate potential criminal activity related to the whole saga if formal reports are made. Legal experts also dared Mkhululi Chimoio and Mxolisi Ncube, the administrators of the page, to make good their threat to sue the hackers and papers that exposed them, saying this would give citizens an opportunity to grill the syndicate behind the scandalous page.

In separate interviews yesterday, zanu-pf secretary for administration Cde Didymus Mutasa and spokesperson Cde Rugare Gumbo, said there was need to probe the matter, more so because most of the "information" was false and malicious.

Hackers, who worked on the expose since last year, identified South Africa-based Zimbabwean journalists Chimoio and Ncube as part of a syndicate behind the scandalous Facebook page.

The two work for The Zimbabwean newspaper published by Wilf Mbanga in Britain and sold here.

"Baba Jukwa" claimed to be a disgruntled senior zanu-pf Politburo member before "his" exposure as a donor-funded regime change project. Cde Mutasa said he believed some ruling party officials supplied information to "Baba Jukwa" in a bid to discredit zanu-pf ahead of last year's harmonised elections that the party nonetheless won with a landslide.

"It is necessary and essential to discuss the matter as a party and investigate what could have happened," said Cde Mutasa. "I agree that some among us were supplying those accused people with information with a view to cast the party in bad light and there is need to probe the matter.

"But we have to get a detailed information of what was happening because what we only have is from the media."

Some of the information the syndicate posted on their page was highly misleading and appeared designed to ignite civil disturbances and even insurrections, which is prohibited under various laws including the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

Cde Gumbo said a lot of what "Baba Jukwa" wrote was malicious and meant to destabilise Zanu-PF.

"The pair's behaviour is unacceptable for it destroyed the image of political leaders in the country," he said. "All I can say is that whatever happened on that social network, innocent people whose images were damaged should report to the police."

He added that the alleged involvement of senior party officials was "worrisome".

"Some of the information was completely accurate and at times outlandish," he said. "Zvimwe zvacho waitoshaya kuti zvabva nekupi (Some of it left one wondering where it was coming from and what it meant).

"We have to keep probing to discover who was doing that, but it is quite a worrisome phenomenon. It is difficult to identify those individuals, but the matter has to be looked into intensively."

A top cop said once reports were made they would investigate.

"At the moment no reports have been made, but once the complainants have made the reports, then we will be able to investigate the cases," said a senior officer.

On Monday, the syndicate that conned people of various sums of money, apparently removed some of the more sensational posts that could lead to criminal charges from the Facebook page.

Legal experts said Ncube and Chimoio could be prosecuted because they waded into matters of national security in a manner "likely to cause despondency".

A cache of emails hacked from their Gmail account, babajukwa2013@gmail, also revealed that many people were conned of their money as the administrators claimed to need donations to further their shadowy agenda.

Mbanga was duped into paying for a weekly column in The Zimbabwean, which carried a lot of false information.

Some of the posts gave the public the private cellphone numbers of officials so that people could harass them, which could lead to criminal charges under telecommunications laws.

"Baba Jukwa" has also on several occasions claimed President Mugabe's imminent death and/or being in a coma at a Singapore medical facility.

Further, "Baba Jukwa" made several posts in which he accused people of murder, intent to murder, assault, rape, theft and fraud, among other things, which could fall foul of criminal defamation laws.

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