President Robert Mugabe has offered a $300,000 reward to anyone who can unmask an anonymous whistleblower behind a string of leaks about alleged Zimbabwean government assassination plots, corruption and plans to rig this month’s election.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, left, and his wife Grace, at the
launch of his party’s election campaign in Harare, Friday, July, 5,
The well-informed mole, who calls himself “Baba Jukwa” and appears to
be operating from within the heart of the regime, began posting
revelations on a Facebook page four months ago.
The page has been viewed more than a million times and he has amassed
more than 239,000 followers, with hundreds of responses and shares to
every update. Efforts to track down the mole have so far failed. His
postings have accused government ministers of corruption and senior
police chiefs of brutality, publishing their private mobile telephone
Reassuring government statements about 89-year-old Mr Mugabe’s health
have been contradicted regularly, so infuriating the president that he
offered the reward for exposing the mole – details of which were
revealed by Baba Jukwa.
Determined attempts by senior Zanu-PF party officials to persuade
Facebook to close the page failed and the president has now reportedly
appealed to friends in the Chinese government for technical support to
censor the site and identify its user.
The most unnerving postings by the mole – or moles, as seems more
likely – were published last month and warned of an assassination plot
against a former government minister who was suspected by Zanu-PF of
Edward Chindori-Chininga was then killed in a car crash shortly after
publicly criticising Zimbabwe’s controversial diamond industry. “I told
you there will be body bags coming this year… The war has begun,” Baba
Jukwa posted on his wall after the politician’s death.
According to reports, the minister died when his car hit a tree, and
no other vehicle was involved. Opponents of Mr Mugabe in the past have
died in similar unexplained road accidents.
The advent of social media in Zimbabwe, which has dramatically
influenced political events elsewhere in the world, is predicted to have
a significant impact on elections due to be held on July 31.
Most access to the internet is via mobile telephones, with more than
six million users having direct access in a country with a population of
Zimbabweans who follow Baba Jukwa – who signs each update with
“Asijiki” which means “We do not retreat” in the local language Shona –
say they now have unfettered access to information they have always
wanted but were in fear of having.
Under the nation’s sweeping security laws, it is an offence to
undermine the authority of the president and national security