28 June 2014

Zimbabwe: Baba Jukwa - Tomana to Summon Army to Testify

Photo: The Herald
Sunday Mail editor, Edmund Kudzayi.

PROSECUTOR General Johannes Tomana has hinted he might invite top army personnel to testify in the terrorism case involving jailed Sunday Mail editor Edmund Kudzayi.

In an exclusive interview with NewZimbabwe.com at the weekend, Tomana also said Kudzayi, who is jointly charged with his brother Philip, would receive a fair trial.

The pair is accused of being the faces behind the controversial Baba Jukwa Facebook page, which dished out Zanu PF secrets and scandals and called for popular resistance against President Robert Mugabe's continued rule.

The page, opened weeks ahead of the country's elections last year, was an immediate hit among Zimbabweans.

In his defence, Edmund, currently in remand prison, claims he was being sacrificed by top Zanu PF politicians who feared his involvement as an IT expert in the case would expose them as the real culprits.

He claims he was working with top military personnel to hack into emails of the real Baba Jukwa characters and Zanu PF insiders who fed them with information.

Tomana said his office was still in the process of analysing the credibility of Kudzayi's claims which he said can still be discarded if proven to be false.

He however, said everyone whose evidence is relevant to the case will be summoned to court, raising the possibility of army bosses being called to take the witness's stand.

"If they (military) are the ones with the evidence, that person is 'callable' as a witness by the way," he said.

He added: "The witnesses will be called no matter who they are."

Tomana was however, quick to say Kudzayi's claims of army involvement in the investigations would not be taken as the "gospel truth" but would be scrutinised before a fully-fledged prosecution can start.

"We cannot presume what he was saying was correct and must not be taken as the gospel truth," said Tomana.

"We are not accepting or denying it. Its subject to being verified when the final docket is in place. If we start talking about it, we will be pre-emptive and the idea is not to be pre-emptive, the idea is to actually give the person a fair trial."

Tomana is an avowed Zanu PF supporter often accused by the opposition of bias against anti-Zanu PF forces.

Alleged coup plotters claim to have been subjected to some of the worst forms of treatment in the hands of the State.

In the courts, prosecutors have routinely invoked the controversial Section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act which empowers the State to freeze the operations of any granting of bail by a court for a seven day period.

Fears abound the Kudzayi brothers, arrested one after the other over the last two weeks, may face similar treatment, if not worse.

But Tomana denied any inherent biases against Zanu PF foes insisting the brothers would receive a fair trial.

"A fair trial is giving that person an opportunity to defend themselves against allegations that are substantiated against them," he said.

Speculation is also rife Tomana may also abandon the case mid-way as top Zanu PF officials' names begin to be exposed in the syndicate.

A case in point is the 2011 WikiLeaks when Tomana, after initial vows he was going to prosecute opposition politicians implicated in clandestine briefings with hostile American diplomats, developed cold feet as more revelations started touching on Zanu PF politicians.

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