11 July 2014

Zimbabwe: 'Baba Jukwa' Back At the Sunday Mail

STAFF at the Sunday Mail say they are feeling insecure and living in fear after their suspended editor Edmund Kudzayi, whom the state suspects is the shadowy Facebook character and blogger widely known as Baba Jukwa, threatened those that celebrated his arrest.

Kudzayi, facing charges of attempting to subvert a constitutionally elected government by waging "cyber-terrorism", was granted US$5 200 bail by the High Court last Thursday.

Sources at the Sunday Mail said Kudzayi has visited their offices about four times since his release.

The most recent visit was on Tuesday when he allegedly barged into a diary meeting and "bragged" that he would soon be returning to work. Kudzayi fired a warning shot at those he accused of celebrating his dramatic arrest on June 19 and incarceration at Harare Remand Prison on June 21.

"He has been to the office about four times now since his release. on Tuesday, he barged into our diary meeting and said and I quote: 'As you are aware I was labelled a terrorist, there is every reason for you to be scared.'

"We just looked at him in shock and he said I hear that some of you were happy and holding parties when I was arrested. Unfortunately for you I am bouncing back with a bang very soon."

Another source said: "On another occasion he even advised Mabasa Sasa (acting editor) to wind up his operations because he is coming back soon."

Kudzayi refused to comment on the matter, but a close friend of his said: "While he did visit the newsroom several times and said all those things, he was not threatening anyone and all was said in jest. It is true that in a week or two Kudzayi will go back at work."

Since his appointment in April, Kudzayi has clashed with senior Sunday Mail and Zimpapers staff.

One of the complaints is that he portrays himself as "Mr know-it-all" and constantly trashes diaries from reporters, and is in the habit of suggesting story ideas not compatible with the paper's editorial thrust.

"In diary meetings he insults reporters to the extent of belittling them.

"He has threatened to retrench half the staff," said a source.

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