The Jukwas: A short history

Edmund Kudzayi

Edmund Kudzayi

Mduduzi Mathuthu- Chronicle Editor

IT WAS common, when I was editor of New Zimbabwe.com, to hear a reader remark that, “I just read the first paragraph of your stories, then quickly jump to the comments, they’re more fun.”

The comments may have been intended as a compliment, but they were quite dispiriting, let me admit. No editor wants to be told that his publication’s stories are less interesting than readers’ feedback!

There was no novelty to the success of the New Zimbabwe.com readers’ comments section: Twitter and Facebook were already doing it, allowing people around the world to be self-publishers, not waiting for the conventional journalist to spoon-feed them with what they consider news.  Stories are dissected with ruthless efficiency, and new background details about stories, which the reporters may have missed, emerge.

Some contributors become more popular than others: the reasons could be anything from the frequency of their postings; the quality of their contributions through to the subjects they choose to blog about.

Among those who literally camped on the comments section was one Jukwa. The reality of the Zimbabwean Diaspora – which contributes most of the visitors on New Zimbabwe.com – is that they are generally hostile to Zanu-PF, and the government of President Robert Mugabe. Jukwa went against the grain, he took great delight in defending President Mugabe and the party. His pet hate was “pale devils” – a label which he seemed to deploy whenever the subject was white farmers, the European Union or the Americans. It probably is a racist term, but I am not sure whether Jukwa was a racist or simply over-dramatising his frustrations with the anti-Zimbabwe campaign he thought was being waged by this group.

Jukwa became unpopularly famous, and delighted in being a resident target of the MDC types, and they were many. I always had an impression that this Jukwa was a simple man, but admirably principled in pursuit of his cause: the defence of Zanu-PF, its leader and the values they stood for. Indeed, many thought he was writing from Zanu-PF HQ.

Following the 2008 election debacle, Zanu-PF was under siege. Jukwa held fort, frustrating MDC supporters who couldn’t believe a party that had “stolen the election”, indeed the party they hated so much – or the “pale devils” disliked so much – had a supporter on the internet. It must have felt like a lone battle for him, I imagine.

But help was at hand. Enter Mai Jukwa. Overnight, a man-and-husband team was waging war on the Internet in defence of Zanu-PF. Whereas I thought Jukwa was a simple man crusading for an “unpopular” cause, Mai Jukwa came across as suave, astute and a brilliant writer too. The “couple” complemented each other brilliantly. Jukwa would post late into the night, earning a wifely admonishment from Mai Jukwa who reminded him it was “bed time”. On they went, and soon they were joined by other like-minded contributors.

The comments section would become the new battleground for Zanu-PF, and I am convinced our resident “couple” contributed to projecting Zanu-PF as a thinking party, mobilising around its populist programme to redistribute land. They showed young, undecided Zimbabweans it was cool to support and defend Zanu-PF unapologetically.

I was curious about the identity of both individuals. At one time, we considered the idea of giving an iPad to Jukwa for being our liveliest contributor on the readers’ feedback section, but he was reluctant to volunteer his address. We respected this and let him be. I must say we were equally curious whether Mai Jukwa was really his wife. No prizes guessing we were not going to get any other answer from him.

Meanwhile, Mai Jukwa would soon seek a higher consideration: “she” wrote in asking for “her’’ own weekly column. I knew then “she” was a good writer, and one I could not turn down. But I wanted to know “her” real identity. An editor must know the identity of his or her contributors, in case a lawsuit comes their way. “She” cut a deal: I and my deputy, Gilbert Nyambabvu, could call “her” to prove she was a woman, and we didn’t have to know “her” real identity, but could refuse to publish “her” if we felt anything “she” had written was potentially libellous.

I called first, and spoke to a woman who sounded as bright on the phone as Mai Jukwa was on the readers’ forum. She could relate to the readers’ comments “politics”. I told her I knew of only a very few Zimbabwean women who wrote as well – Petinah Gappah and a few others had capably ventured into political commentary, not much more. I so desperately wanted to promote a female writer on New Zimbabwe.com. “She” would get “her” column.

You didn’t have to agree with Mai Jukwa to accept “she” was a brilliant writer. I am aware the Zimbabwe Independent, with its pro-opposition stance, also considered “her”, but the proposal for a column fell through after Mai Jukwa would not reveal her face. But The Herald took “her” onboard. “She” started writing for them in 2012, and the column stirred the old party to life. Complementing the inimitable Nathaniel Manheru on Saturday, Zanu-PF — which some in the opposition considered dead and unable to attract any thinkers — found itself with two of the most eloquent columnists in the country.

One of our former columnists, Psychology Maziwisa, who had previously been critical of Zanu-PF but had had his own Damascene moment after meeting President Mugabe, called me sometime in March 2013 to boast he was “meeting Mai Jukwa” in a few hours. Maziwisa, a lawyer by training, was now firmly ensconced at the Zanu-PF HQ as the deputy director of information.

I probed Maziwisa for weeks afterwards to get Mai Jukwa’s real identity, but he would not reveal. I knew, however, that Mai Jukwa was behind what the Americans call election “attack videos” which popped up on YouTube. They were so brilliant in their effectiveness, zeroing in on MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s womanising, that the nervous MDC-T started calling them “hate messages”.

I arrived in Zimbabwe from the United Kingdom in May 2013 to visit my mother, mainly, but would stay on after President Mugabe announced the election dates, made more urgent by a ruling of the Supreme Court.

Unexpectedly, I got a message from Mai Jukwa. “She” wanted us to meet at a hotel in Harare. By appointment, I met Mai Jukwa. It was not a she, but a he! He was Edmund Kudzayi, now the editor of The Sunday Mail who last Saturday was charged with attempting to commit acts of insurgency, banditry, sabotage or terrorism; undermining the authority or insulting the President and publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to the State.

Kudzayi was at the heart of the Zanu-PF campaign team. The party’s information and publicity department, going by the name “Team Zanu-PF”, shocked all by deciding not to place a single newspaper advert. They were going to use billboards, television and a helluva lot of T-shirts, scarves, ‘Zambias’ and caps. Kudzayi joined a team led by Cde Rugare Gumbo, the party’s information top honcho, ably supported by Maziwisa, Cde Olivia Muchena’s son, Kudzai Muchena, and Charles Nyambuya Jnr, son of General Mike Nyambuya (rtd) with others.

Now, prosecutors allege that Kudzayi, who was just a month into his job at The Sunday Mail, having replaced my good friend Brezhnev Malaba, is in fact Baba Jukwa — NOT the Zanu-PF supporting super patriot I referred to above — but a copycat who successfully harvested the power of Facebook to amass 408,000 “Likes”, as of yesterday, by claiming to be a Zanu-PF insider who bizarrely yearned so much for “regime change” in Zimbabwe.

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” – who belatedly opened “her” own, and predictably not-so-successful Facebook page.

President Mugabe recently said “we are simple people” – I want to believe him, but in a different context. 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.

Army Commander General Constantine Chiwenga, Professor Jonathan Moyo, the Information Minister, and the Water and Climate Minister Saviour Kasukuwere were the copycat Baba Jukwa’s favourite targets. Cdes Kasukuwere and Prof Moyo were gay gangsters, the column often announced.

Prof Moyo, we were told ad infinitum, has some sick homosexual relationship with everyone from myself, Kudzayi, Cde Kasukuwere, Maziwisa and most recently Nyambabvu, New Zimbabwe.com’s new man in London. Only “simple people” will now believe this same Kudzayi, who owes much of his success to myself, who encouraged his writing, and Prof Moyo, who approved his appointment by Zimpapers, is the copycat Baba Jukwa.

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!

 

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  • bwonmik

    I am with you Mduduzi Mathuthu, I think the police were too quick to jump to conclusion here. I have followed Mai Jukwa and the original Baba Jukwa, they are true patriots. They fought the internet war like not many for my party, I just hope the police could have taken their time to properly investigate this before rushing to throw this young man in jail.

    • Gonzo ndishefu

      This man has been under investigations since 2008 so police were very patient and diligent in their investigations,this man is now where he rightfully belongs.

      • Mcheto

        Even if he were BJ, what wrong did he do? Attempting to subvert bla bla…. and insulting Mugabe? How many people has Mugabe insulted? Is it not true that he presided over the county’s economic demise?
        What a joke!!

    • Hacha Ndizvo

      There is no longer any case against Kudzayi. The real Baba Jukwa is still out and posting and if he was part of it you can never tell who did what between the two or more Jukwas. Like water Baba Jukwa is ubiquitous – he is me, you, everyone

  • Mago Matema

    Point of correction Mduduzi. In the beginning there was Jukwa, then Mai Jukwa and last to enter was Baba Jukwa. You have given your side of the story as you know it but could it not be possible that this young man was double faced….just a thought.

    • Makusakatara

      Mago;

      Give us your side of the story Mago, we do not want “a thought” from you. You had already started when you stated the sequence of appearance as “Jukwa, then Mai Jukwa and last to enter was Baba Jukwa”. Tell us what you know about these people. Are they different people; is it just one person or what??

  • jojo

    Eeeeh!!!!! Mduduzi you seem to have some bit of information on this , what can you say about those two guys we were told were the real Baba Wajukwa. I think these young boys in the party information top honcho were not yet mature to be in that. Even yourself can turn out to be a Baba Jukwa as well. So don’t play Mr smart on this one. Very soon we will be reading you on headlines after you had been also BURST.

    • Gonzo ndishefu

      Jojo if you read my earlier comment,i said we like to keep our friends close and our enemies closest,so you are right we will deal with him when the time is right,For the moment let him enjoy his freedom.

  • Ndareva

    Hameno, internet yakati kuuya iyi! tese tese tichapera kusungwa gore rino!

    • Chanhuwa chii?

      Wareva

  • Judas Iscariot

    Only a fool will believe this is babaJukwa,but for his role in demonizing MDCT, i could careless if he is Jukwa or not,the chickens are coming home to roost.Let him rot in jail

  • Tuksedo

    So Mduduzi waiziva hako some insider information? What else do you know? I smell a rat. Why are you singing so loudly so early in the game? Don’t you know anything you say can and will be used against you? You know only what you know.

  • truth0001

    well there is a point i need discussed: The online guy who uses terms like ‘pale devils’ is JUKWA, not baba jukwa. we need that clarified? It appears that the writer is telling us that in the beginning was a ‘baba jukwa’, then a ‘jukwa’, followed by a ‘COPY CAT ‘BABA JUKWA’?? I suggest Muthuthu uses a time-line and graphically show us his narative.

    I must say that, because of my respect for this mududuzi now editor of the chronicle, and also the logic of his narrative above, there is good chance, ZRP did a half baked job. I pray that this poor boy in cells gets bailed out asap because the narrative above, indeed forces that the suspect be deemed innocent until proven guilty.

    in 99% of the cases, DNA will place the killer or the rapist on the spot or on the victim, there are cases where people extract and plant a persons DNA at a scene that becomes a crime scene. TRACEBILITIES could be said to be the internet’s DNA. so really, the question of evidence is, whether there really is trace and connection between mai jukwa and baba jukwa, the baba jukwa who was anti-government. we ‘know’ from mududizi that the suspect is the ‘original’ baba jukwa and that would explain that close connection in econets accounts and also the fact mai jukwa’s email is a support address for the ‘original’ baba jukwa.

    Narrowing into it; the question in analysis of evidence is: what do police have to convince us that the suspect’s baba jukwa is the baba jukwa that linked to the notorious face-book baba jukwa. This matter stands or falls in an IT internet work room. building a case based on ‘circumstantial evidence’ would show the AG’s office to be primitive. The link is either there for us to see or the link is not there.

    I suggest that this mududizi man follows up this article with more details like: when was the suspect’s baba jukwa account created? when was the original; account created? when did the notorious baba jukwa start to publish?? did police simply say ‘oh yes, mai jukwa email account has baba jukwa’ email account a support account, so BINGO!’ we have our man???

    • mugopower

      You have a point. Our police doesn’t have enough IT knowledge to understand these things. This case is wake up call to our authorities to school themselves on cyber issues. Methods used to get evidence I doubt will stand a day in a court of law. Emotions were used to raise this case. I really doubt any special work was done to substantiate these charges. Let the rule of law if unfolds, we will be watching!!!

  • Gonzo ndishefu

    Mduduzi,i am sorry to hear that some scavengers broke into your refrigerator and helped themselves to anything they could lay their hands on.I hope you fired the security guard who was reading a newspaper on the job instead of being on the lookout for scavengers.Hopefully the long arm of justice will catch up with these scavengers.As for your story its very intresting,i know you are in denial that your collegue Kudzayi could be the fake babaJukwa.He indeed is babaJukwa, in ZANU PF we believe in keeping our friends close and our enemies the closest,we had him right where we wanted him.We kept Chematama closest by supplying him with women because we know haagoni kuvharara zipi yake.

    • Batanai

      Just because you say it is, does not mean we have to believe you! babaJukwa came into existence last year as an instrument to decampaign ZANU. His language, diction and logic were extremely poor, nowhere near comparable to maiJukwa. The state will have to work harder to convince us those two characters are the same person.

      How could you have been watching someone since 2008, when their character did not even exist then? Had you prophesied that he would become babaJukwa 5 years later?

      As for Tsvangirai, he fell because he sought to womanize using his post as Prime Minister as an aphrodisiac! He did not need ZANU to get most women he wanted, including South Africans and several whites who are definitely outside of the realm of ZANU’s influence!

      • Chanhuwa chii?

        “The state will have to work harder to convince us those two characters are the same person….” I really wonder if anyone will bother himself trying to convince you. If then you doubt the probability of having someone under the eagle’s eye for 6years then you are too junior for you could have been and still under the same for the past 20years.

        • Batanai

          You were watching someone for 6 years and yet let him expose harmful information to the state and party?

          BabaJukwa committed some of the worst crimes this side of treason, he almost single-handedly handed victory to the MDCs, had they been switched on enough to exploit the opportunity presented to them.

          Either, you run one of the most incompetent spying operations or you are obviously lying about watching Edmund for 6 years!

    • Makusakatara

      Gonzo;

      I have no comment but to tell you the truth wandinakidza; ndaseka zvangu ndiri ndega vari pazha vakashamisika kuti ko, baba vari mukati umo vavakupenga here??

  • proudlyZimbabwean

    “Army Commander General Constantine Zvinavashe”……seriously Mr Editor

  • Bruce Nyanyai

    Mduduzi Mathuthu, you seem to be running scared. You got you undies in a twist here. You were also posting many anti-Mugabe posts on your website which would be prejudicial to the state today. The question here is where is Edmund Kudzayi’s brother whom we hear is still at large? The police claim that Edmund was acting in connivance with his elder brother, Phillip Tawanda, who is said to be still at large. The crux of this story is on the fact that a Gmail account called [email protected] was created using an Econet line number 0771 446 541 registered in Phillip’s name. So he is the guy posting on the site at the moment for us to pray, not for the country, but for his brother. There is more to this story than meets the eye. Why are you quick to defend when Information Minister said there’s rule of law in Zimbabwe? Let Edmund have his day in court, but also we need his brother Philip and his Econet line. The government obviously has access to Econet records and they would not charge with no basis. Icho!

  • Nyasha Mungazi

    If this Edmund guy is Amai Jukwa, how come the Mai Jukwa column in The Herald had a post yesterday? Did he write before he was arrested? Why can’t The Herald be subpoenaed to state who Mai jukwa is? That would clear part of the jigsaw puzzle. Then again it’s not Mai Jukwa under investigation, but Baba Jukwa. So tell us Mathuthu, where is Philip Kudzayi, the brother of Edmund. If Edmund is innocent and the Econet line was not used to open the Baba Jukwa page, then there is nothing to fear is there. I suspect Philip could be working with his brother on this one to divert police attention. Then again I could be wrong, but his presence would be very helpful to this case, don’t you think?

    • Flava

      Newspapers will always find someone to fill too keep the column running. At times you will see the writing style becomes different

  • Fireman

    Mduduzi akarohwa pasi petsoka anotaura

  • Cde Manesi

    I do hope Mduduzi knows they difference between Jukwa of the pale devils fame,Baba Jukwa and Mai Jukwa.Baba Jukwa is of the Asijiki and is completely different blogger from Jukwa and Mai Jukwa.Why are you reporters so quick to want to confuse Mai Jukwa,Jukwa and Baba Jukwa.You cannot fool all the people all the time Mathuthu.

  • Musimwa81

    Smoke screen. The bottom line is that our nation is not firing on all cylinders right now and that needs to be fixed. The sooner we ALL focus on that, the better for the common man. You folks , with your full bellies, are busy coming up with all sort of tricks, how does that fix my mother land.

  • Nyasha Shumba

    Sounds like Mduduzi Mathuthu is worried he may as well get arrested, why would a full editor of a national daily try to “lead” or “mislead” investigations currently going on in a case that is before a court of law? So was the break in at his house a mere coincidence? Me thinks the Prof himself is not at ease about the whole thing. It’s a pity “political crimes” are never thoroughly investigated in our country.

  • Cde Mzvinavhu(Prof)

    The issue is now sub judice ! I rest my comment!

  • kutototo

    Hemeno kwenyu ikoko kwedu kuno zvirikufaya, baba Jukwa, Jukwa, Sekuru va Jukwa, hatineyi navo nekuti hatidye sadza kumba kwavo

  • Mcheto

    Mhosva yacho chaiyo ndeyei suppose this guy was/is the real Baba Jukwa, copycat or whatever? This attempting to subvert bla bla ….and insulting the persident doesnt make sense to me. President vanotukawo nekutsvinyira vamwe paruzhinji wani? And is it not true kuti ndivo vai(uye vachiriku)tonga apo economy yenyika iri kutsakatika (presiding over the economic demise of Zim). Nyaya iyi inoratidza pachena kuti muZimbamwe hatina rusununguko, nyika ino ichirikuda kurwirwa kusungura veruzhinji nevechiduku semuchinda Edmund asungirwa nyaya pasina uyu…….kubva kuutapwa whemafungiro, maonero nemaitiro echiZanu.

    • Chanhuwa chii?

      ….and insulting the president doesn’t make sense to me…. you are right Malume because it’s not making sense to you. After all I don’t think it’s suppose to be making any sense “to you”.

  • Guvuriro

    Mduduzi, what kind of an editor of a government owned edition who mix names of army generals Vitalis Zvinavashe and Costantine Chiwenga?

  • tiriparwendo2

    ‘Army Commander General Constantine Zvinavashe…’ Did u want to say Constantine Chiwenga!

  • Hwati Ngavi

    There is no armygeneral, and there has never been any such officer, called Constantine Zvinavashe. One wonders whether this could also mean doubts about Mduduzi’s facts about Edmund and Baba Jukwa.

  • Observer

    Point of correction Mr Editor, the Army General Commander is not Constantine Zvinavashe but infact Cde Constantine Guveya CHIWENGA!

  • ZANU Panyanga

    The events did queit happen as you have put them up here but maybe you have more insider info than most of us.

  • Chihelele

    Mdu your recollection is lacking truth. Mai Jukwa came first before baba Jukwa. This kid called Kudzayi is both of them. He use broken english when posting as baba jukwa and then in mai jukwa we see a well schooled, impressive writer. From the phone and computer that police took they will fish out all the evidence.

    It might be hard for you Matutu that your buddy is deep in the mud, but thats reality. Minister Moyo has a case to answer as well after employing such a person

  • Danisa Tshawe

    thank you,

  • Tinyerere Zvedu

    “Army Commander General Constantine Zvinavashe..” Is there such a person in Zimbabwe Mduduzi? Why do you take your readers for granted? We’re simple people indeed!!

  • madzibaba Ishumairai

    Unfortunately or fortunately I never had the time to read the baba Jukwa post but I remember people quoting him as if his was the gospel truth. However the Constitution (its not new as most would like us to believe it became effective on day of gazetting while the other became obsolete on the same) protects freedom of expression and those individuals who feel that the post did defame them should proceed through the civil route as per the recent Concourt judgement otherwise the state has a paper thin case. If he published official secrets then it has to do with his sources unless the state can prove that he had taken an oath of secrecy as prescribed under the official secrecy act. An arrest is easy but conviction ma one

  • Gaka

    Imwi madofo munonetsekana nekuti paitwa mistake yezita raarmy general, nyaya iripo ndeyekuti toda kuziva Baba Jukwa apa mhani. He needs to pay for throwing this country into chaos and pandemonium nemanyepo, insulting people and causing dissent among them, and excitement too, now a lot are dying from depression and hopelessness. ah ibvai apo, you are not deep thinkers are you? Mahobi apa

  • Mfanekhaya

    He may not be Baba Jukwa, but Edmund Kudzayi is The African Aristocrat and those charges would still stick if the I.O is not too lazy to dig up the dirt…

  • Hurungudo

    Boy oh boy! The youngster was eating from both plates man! Way to go but pretty dangerous yah? Rine manyanga hariputirwi!

  • Dombodema

    Am I the only dog which is not bothered about its human identity being
    exposed?

  • Chanhuwa chii?

    Some teachers are playing truant here running away from the students to mark the herald. If a correction has been noted and corrected, can we then keep on marking the same????

    What is it that I have noted….the writer here was not at liberty when he gave this statement. Somewhere it sounds he had something to hide, something to run away from as he was being so careful not to splash some of it over his own face.

    Lawyers are plenty on this forum but of interest.