December 8, 1986
|Alma mater||Huddersfield University, Leeds Metropolitan University|
|Occupation||Journalist, Political Commentator, Information Services|
|Years active||2010 - Present|
|Relatives||Philip Kudzayi (brother)|
Edmund Kudzayi (born 8 December 1986) is a Zimbabwean journalist and media professional. He is a former editor for the state-run weekly newspaper the The Sunday Mail where he was appointed by then Minister of Information and Publicity, Jonathan Moyo. He is mostly known for having been Amai Jukwa and for his arrest in 2014 on allegations of being behind the Facebook nom de plume Baba Jukwa. As Amai Jukwa, Kudzayi wrote the column Political Mondays with Amai Jukwa in government-owned Herald daily newspaper.
Edmund Kudzayi was born in Hillside, Harare to Steyn and Rosewitta Kudzayi. Kudzayi did his primary education from 1993 to 1999 at Eastridge Primary School in Hillside, Harare and his secondary education at Marist Brothers Nyanga between 2000 and 2003. For his A' Levels he studied at Churchill Boys High school in Harare. After his A' Levels, Kudzayi studied for the Chartered Institute of Management Accounting (CIMA) diploma in Harare.
It was reported that Edmund Kudzayi was behind the website African Aristocrat which was operation sometime between 2010 and 2013 (a copy of the site is available on the internet archive here). The blog unreservedly registered its distaste for President Robert Mugabe and his ruling Zanu PF. It ran a prominent article about the alleged rape of Mugabe’s daughter Bona in Malaysia. The African Aristocrat websites used the Twitter name @dukeofzimbabwe.
In 2011, he enrolled for a Software Engineering Degree at Huddersfield University in the UK. It's not clear if he completed the studies. He had previously been enrolled at the Leeds Metropolitan University for law. It is unclear if Kudzayi completed those studies either.
As editor of Sunday Mail
Edmund Kudzayi was appointed Editor of the Sunday Mail on the 7th of April 2014. Reports during that time and after his arrest made note of the fact that he was very young and unqualified for the position based on the fact that he had never studied journalism. A little over 2 months after the appointment, Kudzayi was arrested apparently for being Baba Jukwa.
In 2018, Edmund Kudzayi started Kukurigo Updates, a WhatsApp-based news platform. Kukurigo started by sharing concise news updates in the month before the elections in July 2018. People originally joined the broadcast list through an autoresponder, which sends out links for individuals to join.
As of November 2018, Kukurigo had about 13,600 subscribers in 56 groups. In 2019, Kudzayi said that’s grown to 28,000 subscribers in 116 groups. An average of six updates are shared each day in admin-only groups, in an effort to not overwhelm the channels with unrelated chatter.
Arrest in 2014
Kudzayi was arrested by the police at his lawyers’ offices on the 19th June 2014. The full charges laid against Kudzayi were:
- are attempting to commit an act of insurgency, banditry, sabotage or terrorism as defined under Section 189(1)(a) and (b) as read with Section 23(1)(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act (Chapter 9:23);
- undermining authority or insulting the President as defined in Section 33 (2)(a)(ii) of the same Act; and
- publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to the State.
- He is also accused of contravening Section 28(2) of the Firearms Act (Chapter 10:09), which deals with failure to secure ammunition.
Also arrested along with Kudzayi was his brother Philip Kudzayi who was accused of having been his partner in the crimes.
At the magistrates court, the state argued that Edmund was the one in control of the Baba Jukwa gmail account as his contact details were on the recovery panel of the said account. The police also claimed that they had recovered thirteen unsecured rounds of ammunition at Kudzayi's home and office.
Kudzayi and his brother were sent to remand prison pending trial and would appear at the courts in prison regalia and leg irons. He was being represented by Admire Rubaya. Initially, Kudzayi's bail application was denied on the grounds that he was facing serious charges and that bail in cases where one is facing charges of banditry and insurgency was out of the jurisdiction of the Magistrate's Court.
On 23 June, Chronicle Editor, Mduduzi Mathuthu, wrote a Herald opinion piece that sought to exonerate Kudzayi of being Baba Jukwa, explaining that Kudzayi was a patriot and was actually behind another (apparently more sophisticated) num de plum character, Amai Jukwa. He wrote:
My impression of Baba Jukwa, the copycat, is of an illiterate bloke who along the way — by appealing to the Zanu PF-hating Diaspora — attracted a rich benefactor who was keen to stop the march of the original Jukwa and his “wife”....
Almost half a million people, including some who should know better, were taken in by this copycat Baba Jukwa’s ruse that he was a patriotic Zanu-PF insider who somehow wanted the same party defeated in the July 2013 elections....
Kudzayi is now in a cold cell awaiting his day in court. Is he the patriotic, Zanu-PF partisan Mai Jukwa? Yes. Is he the copycat Facebook Baba Jukwa? You make up your mind!
That Kudzayi was Amai Jukwa was in direct contradiction to what Kudzayi himself had publicly said. Earlier on, in May 2014, in a ZiFM Stereo radio interview conducted by Ruvheneko Parirenyatwa and also attended by the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe executive director Loughty Dube, he had flatly denied being Amai Jukwa.
After Kudzayi's arrest Job Sikhala, a politician from the Movement for Democratic Change also at one point time accused Kudzayi for masquerading as a journalist from a British television station in order to solicit for an interview with the politician at his home.
Eventually, on 3 July 2014, Kudzayi and his brother were granted $5,200 bail. As part of the bail conditions, the two were ordered to surrender the password to the Gmail account email@example.com. Kudzayi was also ordered to surrender title deeds for his father’s house in Hillside as surety and he was supposed to report to Harare Central Police station twice daily. They were also asked to surrender their passports and not travelling beyond 40 km of the Harare Main post office without court permission. In the meantime, the State would investigate and prepare its evidence for the trial. A trial date was not given.
Application for refusal of further remand
On 2 September 2014, magistrate Milton Serima dismissed the two's application for refusal of further remand. Kudzayi and Philip's lawyer had applied for refusal of further remand noting that the they had been on remand for a long time without a trial date given by the state. The magistrate said the remand period had been reasonable so far.
On 6 October 2014, magistrate Serima dismissed another application by the Kudzayis for refusal of further remand, arguing that the two needed to be patient. The pair were remanded to 14 November. On 14 November the Kudzayis were further remanded to 8 December.
On November 10, after Edmund and Phillip's lawyer applied for the relaxation of bail conditions, a High Court judge, Justice Joseph Musakwa relaxed bail the conditions. The two were now only required to report to the police twice a week (instead of twice daily). The condition of confining the two to a 40 km radius of Harare was removed.
After the ruling being deferred to 10 December, magistrate Serima quashed again the application for refusal of further remand, stating that there was enough evidence that the prosecution was making frantic efforts to gather enough evidence.
Withdrawal of Charges
Following the failure by the state to gather enough evidence, in May 2015 the state was compelled to withdraw charges which had been leveled against Kudzayi. The state however pointed out that they would still carry on with their investigations but would proceed by way of summons.
After the withdrawal of charges, Kudzayi resumed his Political Mondays column in the Herald, but this time under his real name.
Arrest Over Umbrella With Army Colours
On 22 February 2019, Kudzayi was arrested by soldiers in Harare after being found with an umbrella that bore army colours in his car. The arrest according to the charge was for violating Section 32 of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act. In March 2019, Edmund Kudzai was acquitted by a Harare magistrate of charges of possessing a camouflaged umbrella.
Producing anti-Mnangagwa Video for Jonathan Moyo
In August 2017, it was revealed that Edmund Kudzayi had produced a video for Professor Jonathan Moyo which was presented to the Zanu-PF Politburo. In the video, Moyo made a series of allegations against Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa saying that he was trying to take over from President Mugabe. Kudzayi revealed that he was behind the video when he filed a copyright violation claim against PovoNewsAfrica who had posted the video on Youtube.
Video exposing alleged Zanu-PF rigging
Edmund released a video in which he claimed to expose how Zanu-PF has rigged elections in the past. In the video, Kudzayi spoke of how Morgan Tsvangirai lost the 2013 election and also addresses the reports of people’s votes disappearing or moving from one point to another.
CCTV footage on abduction of Tawanda Muchehiwa
In late August 2020, a CCTV footage emerged showing the abduction of activist Tawanda Muchehiwa in Bulawayo in Zimbabwe. He was abducted in broad day light on 30 July 2020 and was reportedly tortured for three days. The footage shows the abductors emerging from a white bakkie then forcing Muchehiwa into the same vehicle which then sped off. The captors accused him of involvement in the planning of anti-government protests which were planned to take effect on 31 July 2020.
Edmund Kudzayi, a Zimbabwean journalist who obtained the CCTV footage on the abduction of Tawanda Muchehiwa on 29 August 2020, told SABC News that it was authentic.
“The footage is authentic, there’s a Nissan bakkie there an mp300. They’d removed the registration plates from the back of the vehicle. The number was caught I think it’s camera 2 of the CCTV footage. They managed to get the contact details of the person who owns the vehicle and they spoke to him and he said he had no idea the car had been leased to a car hire company so then he got in touch with Impala Car Rental and the proprietor said yes the vehicle was hired by one of our regular customers. Impala Car Rental would know the name of that individual.”
- Gift Phiri Factbox: Sunday Mail editor Edmund Kudzayi, The Daily News, Retrieved:3 January 2014, Published:27 June 2014
- , Sunday Mail Editor Appointed, "The Herald", published:8 April 2014,retrived:20 Jun 2014"
- Julia Thomas, “WhatsApp has come in to fill the void”: In Zimbabwe, the future of news is messaging, Nieman Lab, Published: March 13, 2019, Retrieved: December 7, 2021
- Lloyd Gumbo, Sunday Mail Editor Arrested, "The Herald", published:20 Jun 2014,retrived:20 Jun 2014"
- Mduduzi Mathuthu The Jukwas: A short history, The Herald, Retrieved:3 January 2015, Published:23 June 2014
- Job Sikhala, Job Sikhala on Edmund Kudzayi, "Nehanda Radio", published:19 Jun 2014,retrived:20 Jun 2014"
- BREAKING: Sunday Mail Editor granted $5 200 bai, The Herald, Retrieved:3 January 2015, Published:3 July 2014
- Tendai Rupapa No Joy for Jukwa Suspects, The Herald, Retrieved:3 January 2015, Published:3 Sept 22014
- Tendai Rupapa Kudzayi Freedom bid hits snag, The Herald, Retrieved:3 January 2015, Published:7 Oct 22014
- Daniel Nemukuyu Baba Jukwa suspects' bail conditions relaxed, The Herald, Retrieved:3 January 2015, Published:11 November 2014.
- Breaking:”Baba Jukwa” survives jail, NewsDay, Published: May 29, 2015, Retrieved: May 29, 2015
- Edmund Kudzayi Arrested, Found In Possession Of ‘Camouflage Umbrella’, Pindula News, Published: February 22, 2019, Retrieved: December 7, 2021
- Kukurigo Journalist Edmund Kudzayi Acquitted, Pindula News, Published: March 28, 2019, Retrieved: December 7, 2021
- , SABC News, Published: 29 August, 2020, Accessed: 31 August, 2020