Baba Jukwa is the the anonymous moniker of a Facebook personality who posted classified information about the Zanu-PF party in the lead up to and after the July 2013 parliamentary and presidential elections in Zimbabwe. Believed to be a syndicate, Baba Jukwa runs a Facebook page that with over 400,000 followers.
Jukwa dominated the headlines in 2013 through supposedly exposing confidential Zanu-PF plans, corruption by Zanu-PF members, violence and murder committed by politicians. The syndicate is also known for posting private numbers of Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU PF) officials and sometimes denigrating President Robert Mugabe. The character is believed to have been a counter to Amai Jukwa, another anonymous moniker character which is pro ZANU PF. During the run up to the July 2013 harmonised elections, the syndicate predicted Morgan Tsvangirai victory which was widely believed by most supporters of the MDC-T political party. In 2014, two South African based Zimbabwean journalists, Mkhululi Chimoio and Mxolisi Ncube were reported to be the people behind the Baba Jukwa Facebook page.
The Facebook page was created in March 2014, three months before the harmonised 2013 elections by an supposedly disgruntled ZANU PF insider. The page instantly become popular with posts denigrating ZANU PF. The page mainly posted political messages spilling damaging inside details of high-level Zanu-PF party meetings and allegations of voter fraud plans. In June 2014, the characters declared that top officials were 'planning to sink Edward Chindori Chininga (ZANU PF MP) and replace him with their puppet'. This was after Chininga released a report on corruption in the country’s diamond sector. Nine days later, Chininga died leading Baba Jukwa gaining credibility and his popularity further increased. The people behind the page were believed to be Movement for Democratic Change sympathisers, as the page posted only negative information about and intended to hurt ZANU PF's chances in the elections.
In early July 2013, Baba Jukwa supposedly carried an online survey on who would be the next president after the elections. 10% of the respondents named Mugabe as the possible winner giving Tsvangirai a wide margin of 75%. MDC leader Welshman Ncube garnered 3% of the vote while Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa got 1%.
The Alleged Unmasking
In May 2014 news broke that the Baba Jukwa had been unmasked. Two South African based Zimbabwean journalists – Mkhululi Chimoio and Mxolisi Ncube were reported to be the ones administering the page.
The story, first released by an online paper New Zimbabwe, was repeated by almost all the popular newspapers in the country. New Zimbabwe published email communications, pictures and a video showing how unknown hackers broke into the pair's emails and unmasked the two. The two journalists however denied the allegations and threatened to sue New Zimbabwe for the story.
The supposed unmasking of Chimoio and Ncube ignited a public debate with some journalists arguing that, the revelation was mere character assassination. The people with these views believed that Information Minister Jonathan Moyo and his contemporaries were on an mission to assassinate the characters of Mxolisi Ncube and Mkululi Chimoio. Other journalists believed the two were not the people behind Baba Jukwa becuase the two would not have been stupid enough to use a Gmail address especially when Gmail had already succumbed to hacking attacks many times.
Growth of Speculation
As speculation continued to grow over the real identity of Baba Jukwa, the latest person to be accused of being the shadowy Facebook character was the Sunday Mail editor Edmund Kudzayi. He was co-accused with his brother Philip for using an Econet line with the number 0771 446 541 and also creating a gmail account which they allegedly used for their operations. Kudzayi was charged with attempting to commit acts of insurgency, terrorism and communicating false statements prejudicial to the state. He becomes the latest suspect to be fingered as Baba Jukwa after recent accusations on Chimoio and Ncube now seem to have been unfounded. Even after the alleged unmasking and the arrest of the real Baba Jukwa in the person of Edmund Kudzayi on June 19, 2014, there was another post three days later on the Baba Jukwa facebook page. Charges against Kudzai were eventually dropped after the prosecutor general failed to provide compelling evidence against Edmund Kudzayi and his co-accused. The state nonetheless maintained that they would carry on with their investigations into the matter but would proceed by way of summons. The identity of Baba Jukwa remained obscured, several people like Saviour Kasukuwere and Jonathan Moyo were questioned by the police over the matter.
The Baba Jukwa page continued operating after the alleged unmasking incident. On 25 June 2014 it was reported that Moyo was approached by the police officers working on the Baba Jukwa case to assist them to unmask this faceless character. Moyo admitted that he had indeed submitted a report detailing what the police wanted to know about the case.
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- Tapiwa Zivira and Moses Matenga, Baba Jukwa tips Tsvangirai, 'NewsDay', Published: 4 Jul 2013, Retrieved: 12 May 2014
- Baba Jukwa in bid to cover footprints, 'Herald'. Published: 12 May 2014, Retrieved: 12 May 2014
- to sue website over Baba Jukwa story, Nehanda Radio, Published: 11 May 2013, Retrieved: 12 May 2014
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- Breaking:”Baba Jukwa” survives jail, NewsDay, Published: May 29, 2015, Retrieved: May 29, 2015
- T. Farawo, Police Quiz Minister Kasukuwere over Baba Jukwa, The Sunday Mail, Published:27 July 2014, 29 July 2014
- Lovemore Chikova, Jukwa case: Prof Moyo questioned, The Herald, Published:25 July 2014, Retrieved:25 July 2014