Baba Jukwa has been a sensation since he came onto the scene four months ago. He has been described variously as a ZANU-PF insider disheartened by the corrupt and evil machinations of President Robert Mugabe’s party, a mole, a whistleblower, and Zimbabwe’s Julian Assange. There is even reportedly a $300 000 tag on his head.
Baba Jukwa has been churning out juicy staff that the information-starved Zimbabwean public enjoys. For years street gossip has been more popular, especially in Harare, than the news churned out by The Herald, which for years was the only daily in the capital. The advent of other dailies, did not bring much joy as they turned out to be copycats of The Herald but covering the other side.
The fascination with Baba Jukwa is just amazing. One report even said an avid follower of Baba Jukwa had to climb a tree to access the network to tell a colleague about his latest offering. This was supposed to be in a rural village. Don’t ask me how the reporter got the story. This is the age of facebook.
I have tried to follow the stories Baba Jukwa writes, and the stories written about him, and I regret to say that I don’t buy the story.
Baba Jukwa may indeed be a ZANU-PF insider but to me he is not out to bring the party, especially Mugabe, down. But most importantly I do not think there is a $300 000 prize on his head.
If it had been the Movement for Democratic Change or Mavambo or the Zimbabwe African People’s Union, or ZANU-Ndonga putting a price tag, I would have bought the story. They don’t have the resources to track or hunt an enemy down. Not the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front. No ways.
Sometimes the Zimbabwean people baffle me. They give the Central Intelligence Organisation so much credit for doing the almost unthinkable and then suddenly say it cannot identify who Baba Jukwa is? What a load of crap!
If the CIO could tell what people were saying when they were still using snail mail, what more today when they are using the internet which leaves a trail everywhere, even when we the laymen have “ deleted” the message? So why would someone pay for a job that could be done for free or at least at State expense?
But the thing that makes me more suspicious about Baba Jukwa is 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.
Who was so sure about the elections? Who was ready for the campaign and was just waiting for the referendum? Robert Mugabe wanted them in March. But they were delayed by the referendum. Now he insisted that they should be held before the end of the life of the sitting parliament which was 29 June.
In comes Baba Jukwa to pave the way for him. Not openly, but through a cleverly arranged programme of pretending to discredit the party and the person most people “allegedly hate”. Tell them what they want to hear- chaos in the party, fights for succession, assassination plots, Mugabe likely to die before the election. But there is always one constant- Mugabe.
Four months later he has 257 520 likes and 42 568 people talking about him. This is 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 are from Zimbabwe and nearly 20 percent from South Africa. Who matters most? Those in Zimbabwe. They are going to vote. Who uses Facebook most, the youth.
Aah. Whose campaign is targeting the youth or believes his future is dependent on the youth? Who thinks that to win this election he has to “steal” that youth vote because the old timers are already in the bag?
As my favourite comedian Eddie Griffin says: “Think! It ain’t illegal yet. But they are working on it.”
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.
Germany and Adolf Hitler’s propaganda chief, Joseph Goebbels, had this to say about propaganda: "It is not propaganda's task to be intelligent, its task is to lead to success." Read- the purpose is to win.
Rewind to March shortly before Baba Jukwa came onto the scene. What happened in March? The Kenyan elections. Zimbabwe’s last two elections have almost been a replica of those in Kenya. Who was the favoured candidate by the West in Kenya? Who was not worth electing president because he had to go to The Hague? Who did the young voters go for? Why?
Need I say more except end with another quote: “Propaganda is as powerful as heroin; it surreptitiously dissolves all capacity to think.”