There was a media frenzy when facebook character Baba Jukwa was “exposed” in May. The nation was told Baba Jukwa was not one, but two, South-African-based journalists, Mxolisi Ncube and Mkhululi Chimoio.
One month later, the story had changed. Baba Jukwa was Sunday Mail editor Edmund Kudzayi, the nation was told. And he was arrested shortly afterwards and charged trying to overthrow the government.
Kudzayi is alleged, together with his brother Phillip, to have formed two groups, Gunda Nleya Brigade and the Zimbabwe Revolutionary Army to overthrow the government.
Now five months down the road, Baba Jukwa seems to have been forgotten, but the nation was told on Friday that a senior police officer Crispen Makedenge had gone to the United States to meet Google and Facebook officials to help in the State case.
The question is: was Makedenge’s trip really necessary, especially in view of the cash crisis that the government is facing? And why now almost five months after Kudzayi and his brother wwere arrested.
Kudzayi’s lawyer, Admire Rubaya aptly put it on Friday: “The State was overzealous when these two initially appeared in court and the way they handled the matter appeared as if their trial would commence the following day, but now the steam has gone away.”
Indeed, the steam has faded, and so has Baba Jukwa. Something funny seems to have been happening to the Baba Jukwa. Originally, the page said Baba Jukwa joined facebook on 22 March 2013. Now it says Baba Jukwa joined on 7 June 2013.
At its height and even before the arrest of Kudzayi, the Baba Jukwa page had nearly 400 000 likes. Now it has 9 000 likes.
There were posts even up to the exposure. Now the posts end in July 2013.
The question is: Does the State really have a case against the Kudzayi brothers? Can it prove its case? Was the trip to the United States worth it?
Maybe, it is worth going back to what Kudzayi said when he was arrested: “These allegations are not only laughable, but a clear abuse of the criminal justice system by those in the corridors of power who are afraid that I can use my technological expertise to expose those who actually supplied the real Baba Jukwa with blow-by-blow details of sensitive meetings within ZANU-PF and the Zimbabwean government and also the people behind it.
“This is clearly a trial and error by the State in seeking to resolve the Baba Jukwa mystery. The State is just stabbing in the dark hoping along the way as they arrest innocent people like me and victimising the same, they would get the real Baba Jukwa. This is a clear lie. I am not Baba Jukwa at all…..
“I was really assisting the Ministry of Defence and I have been taken back by this backstabbing by the State, yet I was trying to resolve the mystery with them through the Ministry of Defence and police, law and order section….
“Further, what the police are claiming to have investigated they actually got it from myself as I supplied them with the relevant information through Assistant Commissioner Makedenge. I am perplexed that I am being falsely incriminated, yet the investigating officer knows very well that my involvement in the matter related only to hacking Baba Jukwa account and the Ministry of Defence officials were also in the picture of my involvement in hacking of Baba Jukwa Gmail account…
“The State has missed the ball and is now majoring in minor and trivial things, yet the real Baba Jukwa is laughing off after the State has arrested an innocent man who has no connection to Baba Jukwa page.”