Google says Zimbabwe Police lied about Baba Jukwa saga


New York – Global tech giant Google says there were “no attempts whatsoever” by Zimbabwean authorities to engage the company over the Baba Jukwa saga.

Social media phantom, Baba Jukwa, became popular in the run-up to the 2013 elections, for supposedly exposing the ruling Zanu PF party’s secrets and internal fights.

The mysterious internet character, now muted, attracted a huge following on Facebook, sparking a feverish official hunt for the identity of the individuals behind the exposes.

After the elections, government arrested Edmund Kudzai, who was then editor of the State-owned Sunday Mail newspaper and his brother, claiming they were behind the Baba Jukwa character.

The brothers were charged with plotting to overthrow President Robert Mugabe and his government, charges they categorically denied. They also rejected any links to Baba Jukwa.

They however, remained on remand for months with ZRP Assistant Commissioner Crispen Makedenge claiming to be shuttling between Harare and Google’s US head offices as part of his investigations.

Makedenge also claimed to have visited Facebook in the US as part of his investigations.

However, Google’s Africa manager responsible for policy and government relations, Fortune Mgili Sibanda, said Thursday that they never received any request for information from Zimbabwe authorities regarding Baba Jukwa.

He was responding to questions from the audience attending 2016 Human Rights Day commemorations in Harare.

“No one went to Google with the Baba Jukwa issue and we did nothing about it.

“In fact, you need not go to Silicon Valley (Google head offices in the US) with any content related complaint because that is not where our content hub is,” Sibanda said.

The case against the Kudzai brothers later collapsed and Makedenge has since been transferred from Harare.

  • New Zimbabwe