In the run-up to the 2013 elections, I wrote two articles about Baba Jukwa. In the first one I argued that I did not buy the story that Baba Jukwa was a mole or whistleblower out to expose the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front and to de-campaign President Robert Mugabe.
By Charles Rukuni
I saw him as a party propagandist whose sole purpose was to sway Zimbabweans, especially the younger generation, to talk only about ZANU-PF, Mugabe and no one else.
What made me suspicious about Baba Jukwa was the timing of his entry onto the scene. He came onto the scene on 22 March, three days after the release of the results of the national referendum which approved the new constitution by 94.5 percent- the right time to start an election campaign because the referendum was the first step towards the elections.
President Robert Mugabe was the only person who was ready for the elections. He wanted them in March but they were delayed by the referendum. After the results, he insisted that they should be held before the end of the life of the sitting parliament which was 29 June.
In came Baba Jukwa, cleverly pretending to discredit ZANU-PF and the person most people hated. He, some people said it was a she, told them what they wanted to hear- chaos in the party, fights for succession, assassination plots, Mugabe likely to die before the elections. But there was always one constant- Mugabe and ZANU-PF.
Within four months Baba Jukwa had 257 520 likes and some 42 568 were people talking about him. This was 5 000 more people than those who voted for Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Mavambo leader Simba Makoni combined in Harare province in the first round of the 2008 presidential elections.
More than 75 percent of the likes were from Zimbabwe and nearly 20 percent from South Africa, I wrote. Who uses Facebook most, the youth. So in my opinion this was a deliberate campaign aimed at the youth- the stronghold of the Movement for Democratic Change.
I even quoted by favourite comedian Eddie Griffin who says: “Think! It ain’t illegal yet. But they are working on it.”
And they were working on it. I wrote: “To me Baba Jukwa is just a clever propagandist. And in Zimbabwe there is only one master strategist. Folks you don’t have to like a person to admire his survival tactics. No one can explain how he has survived the onslaught except to say he is a dictator because that seems to be the easy way out.”
I even quoted Adolf Hitler’s propaganda chief, Joseph Goebbels, who said: “It is not propaganda’s task to be intelligent, its task is to lead to success.”
Indeed, ZANU-PF and Mugabe beat the Movement for Democratic Change and Morgan Tsvangirai like never before.
I ended up with another quote which said: “Propaganda is as powerful as heroin; it surreptitiously dissolves all capacity to think.”
Eight days before the elections, I wrote another piece, on what I thought about Baba Jukwa. I felt that Baba Jukwa would come out or disappear shortly after the elections because his job would have been done. We all know what happened.
I also argued that Baba Jukwa could not be Shona, as one media outlet reported, but someone who had a knowledge of Zulu because the jika as used by Baba Jukwa made sense only in Zulu and not in Ndebele.
Baba Jukwa had more than 400 000 likes before killing himself off. Of course the death was not sudden. Some young people were implicated as being behind the facebook character with Sunday Mail editor Edmund Kudzayi being arrested only to be released months later.
The job had been done and the character was laid to rest.
Then came Jonathan Moyo almost a year later, using almost the same modus operandi like Baba Jukwa, but this time on twitter. Though twitter is not as popular as facebook, Moyo has managed to amass 108 000 followers in 23 months. This is a remarkable fit because facebook has about 1.6 billion users while twitter has just over 300 million.
Moyo has successfully used twitter to maintain the high profile he had as Information Minister when most people thought he would fade out as they viewed his transfer to Higher Education was a demotion.
He has actually raised the profile of the Higher Education ministry which now grossly overshadows that of the Ministry of Information.
But what has been most striking for me has been his persistent attacks on Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa. I thought these two were close, or at least shared one common political goal. I don’t buy Moyo’s “one centre of power” argument because he would not have been involved in the Tsholotsho meeting of 2004.
I could be wrong, but I am just asking, if Jonathan Moyo is not a member of the G40 faction as he has persistently argued on his twitter handle- saying G40 is not a political faction but a demographic group, who is he really with?
He claims to be with Mugabe, but apart from Grace, who is really still with the old man? He can’t play second fiddle to Kasukuwere!
If he is not a lone ranger, could he be doing to Mnangagwa what Baba Jukwa was doing to Mugabe and ZANU-PF?
It is difficult to tell as it now seems it’s dog eat dog’s as ZANU-PF members seek to position themselves for the Old Man’s eventual departure. – The Insider