A new Facebook phenomenon has Zimbabwe talking as elections approach. An anonymous character calling himself Baba Jukwa (BJ) has become a major talking point as Zimbabweans hungry for political intrigue visit “his” Facebook wall to get the latest on what is happening in President Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) political party.
BJ, as he is called, is said to be a member of ZANU-PF’s inner circle and describes himself as a “Concerned father, fighting nepotism and directly linking community with their Leaders, Government, MPs and Ministers” and is dishing the dirt on the party, much to the delight of his followers.
It is however suspected that BJ is a group of people who post regular updates from different parts of the country, but whatever the case, BJ, with 144,104 Facebook likes at the time of writing this post, has forever changed Zimbabwean politics and how social media is appropriated in contemporary political discourse ahead of elections expected this year.
Most of his revelations include the names and sometimes telephone numbers of politicians, intelligence officers and army officials. In one of his posts, he talks about corruption involving a Chinese firm and officials from the president's office and indigenisation office.
Whilst Zimbabwe is saying China is here to help, only government officials and Zanu goons are benefiting. Can I share with you this information; there is a company which is being run by a Chinese guy Tsao Xuecheng. It has been operating for the past 5 years. It’s the company that installed new elevators at Zanu pf recently. Shamu and other Zanu goons got their shares in this deal. On the 14 of May the company was paid US$250 000 as deposit to install a new CID HQ. The material is on its way from China. This Chinese guy works with Kasukuwere and Neville Mutsvengwa from indigenisation office.
In another post, he names an ICT expert trained in surveillance who pretend to be working for a railways company:
Patrons at Belgravia sports club are advised that there is an operative who is spending much time there these days by your place. He is an ICT guru and covers by working for a Railways company. He is well trained in tracking, and very good those close to the Prime Minister Tsvangirai.
He names the people who were behind Zimbabwe involvement in the Second Congo War:
Zimbabwe do you know that the Zimbabwe National Army’s involvement in the DRC conflict was motivated more by Mugabe, Mnangagwa and the military junta’s desire to enrich themselves on Congo’s rich natural resources? Among them was Robert Mhlanga, a former Air Force Vice-Marshal and Mugabe’s personal helicopter pilot, who retired a millionaire shortly after his tour in the DRC. This thug Robert Mhlanga was also a key state witness in the treason trial against MDC President, Morgan Tsvangirai in 2003.
He describes Zanu PF's planned tactics to rig this year's election:
Those who follow this page would remember that some weeks ago i posted that Zanu Pf's rigging machinery is divided into three stages, namely registration and inspection,campaigning and finally voting and counting.
I told in the first stage has been confirmed by the most unlikely source,Amai Mujuru […] Be that as it is, my message today is that Zanu Pf has recently resolved to shift a gear up in its rigging strategy,that is,stage 2, Campaign Stage,thereby prompting me to come back to you Zimbabwe so that you won't duped by these cunning old people.
His mysterious air and revelations have got many talking. Zimbabwean comedian Carl Joshua Ncube (@CarlJoshuaNcube) wrote:
@CarlJoshuaNcube: my non Zimbabwean friends asking me who Baba Jukwa is and I am like “all I know is that he is a short little white
man with a walking stick”
Zimbabwean journalist Mike Madoda (@mikemadoda) described BJ's popularity:
@mikemadoda: I dare say this Baba Jukwa fella is now more popular/infamous (depending on ur affiliation) than Jonathan Moyo [Jonathan Moyo is the much maligned former Information Minister] was at his zenith.
Citizen journalism site Living Zimbabwe asked Zimbabweans on Facebook:
Given the nature of the content that Baba Jukwa shares with the world, do you think he (or they) could have an impact on Zimbabwe's political landscape?
Because of what appears to be BJ's incredible insider knowledge of ZANU-PF, Twitter user Madzibaba Sir Revita (@AwkwardZimbo) made a request:
@AwkwardZimbo: Baba Jukwa should do us all a favour and expose Bona Mugabe's [Bona is President Robert Mugabe’s daughter] Instagram account
A not-so-impressed Conor Walsh (@ConorMWalsh) asked:
@ConorMWalsh: Does Baba Jukwa really think a terminally deformed formation like ZanuPF can reform itself?
The state broadcaster (@zbc_news) made fun of BJ’s growing popularity:
@zbc_news: While y'all busy counting the number of “likes” on Baba Jukwa's fb page, we are already counting our votes for the next election – Zanu PF.
Mushongera (@GMushongera) poked fun at the powers-that-be:
@Mushongera: Accessing Baba Jukwa right in front of the parliament. Tapanduka! [We have rebelled] — Africa Unity Square: an Internet hotspot http://t.co/FBTcA8YnF6
And the influence and popularity of BJ seems to have reached others shores outside Zimbabwe. Blogger Sir Nigel (@SirNige) reported:
@SirNige: @stanleykwenda: So some young boys in UK are setting up a Baba Jukwa & Mai Jukwa fashion label” //Serious?
According to Jeffrey Smith (@Smith_RFKennedy) BJ has started blogging:
@Smith_RFKennedy: #Zimbabwe: Notorious & increasingly popular ZANU-PF mole, promises “darker secrets,” starts new website:
Eve Queeniie Parkes commented on Facebook that BJ has made Zimbabwean politics more interesting:
FROM MAKANDIWA AND ANGEL [popular local “prophets”] TO MAI AND BABA JUKWA ZIM POLITICS GETTING INTRESTING [sic] LIKE NEVER BEFORE WAS SO TIRED OF THEM FAKE PROPHETS SICK STUNTS….
The BJ excitement has been irresistible for even non-Zimbabwean bloggers such as Joel B. Pollak who thinks BJ's impact could have been widespread if more people had access to Internet in the country:
If only more than 1 in 6 Zimbabweans had Internet access, it might make more of a difference.
Visit BJ's Facebook page for what is happening behind the scene in Zimbabwean politics.