/ 24 May 2013

Zanu-PF following the trail of Facebook ‘Judas’

Insiders in Zanu-PF say the party was alarmed by Baba Jukwa's Facebook posts.
Insiders in Zanu-PF say the party was alarmed by Baba Jukwa's Facebook posts.

Baba Jukwa, through his pulling power, has momentarily taken the focus off the country's battle between President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, providing gossip, rumour-mongering and sleaze on other politicians.

It is now common to hear in offices, supermarkets and on public transport the question: "What is Baba Jukwa saying today?"

On his Facebook page, Baba Jukwa describes himself simply: Concerned father, fighting nepotism and directly linking the community with its leaders, ­government, members of Parliament and ministers. His posts, however, do more than that, delving into the personal lives of Zanu-PF's top brass. Insiders in Zanu-PF said the party was alarmed by Baba Jukwa's posts and party hawks were afraid he could undo their election campaign.

"We are being vigilant and will not leave a stone unturned as we search for the traitor in our midst. He is a modern-day Judas Iscariot," said a Zanu-PF official.

"Meanwhile, I insist and repeat, let's all make sure that we are registered to vote so as to get rid of these evil old people from my party … My party's aim is to frustrate first-time and born-free voters not to register to deliver a new Zimbabwe. Please make sure you check you registered your correctly spelt name, surname and identification number because the plan is to have a slight mistake which will make you turned away from casting your vote on the important day," wrote Baba Jukwa recently.

Jukwa's juicy revelations have revealed Zanu-PF's election strategies, with the internet provocateur exposing details of Zanu-PF politburo and Cabinet meetings.

Rape accusation
In past posts, Baba Jukwa has named a top party official accusing him of rape, claimed that the military had a hand in former military chief Solomon Mujuru's death in August 2011 and has published the names of state intelligence operatives.

He has also published the cellphone numbers of government ministers and party officials in an attempt to substantiate his allegations and urges his followers to bombard them with calls demanding answers for crimes, violations and nondelivery of services.

Mystery surrounds the identity of Baba Jukwa, with political commentators saying his activities are an extension of infighting within Zanu-PF over who will succeed Mugabe.

Asked for comment, Zanu-PF's director of information, Psychology Maziwisa, said Baba Jukwa is "a faceless, bloody liar who is unsuccessfully trying to distract the party's attention". "It's obviously a poorly planned MDC project meant partly to taint the image of our party but mostly to improve the electoral prospects of the MDC.

"But everybody knows the MDC is finished. Nothing can save them now; certainly not a Facebook page, they are well beyond redemption."

Jukwa's online presence also appears to have eclipsed that of Zimbabwe's political leaders, who have tried their hand at social media networks to garner supporters.

Industry and Commerce Minister Welshman Ncube has 3 738 followers while Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere has 1 719 followers.

However, their pulling power is minute compared with Baba Jukwa, who is made even more popular by his sign-off statement: Asijiki, ­ndinotenda, loosely translated as: "We are not turning back, thank you". Kasukuwere has 1 719 Facebook ­followers, and Ncube has 3 738.

This week, Baba Jukwa sought to spread his influence beyond Zimbabwe into South Africa by sending emails to some of the country's leading journalists. "Greetings to you all. May I take this opportunity to formally introduce the Facebook page Baba Jukwa. Can you all go and like it and spread the news.