Anonymous whistleblower has Zimbabwe glued to social media
(GIN) — Using social media, a whistleblower has been igniting a firestorm in Zimbabwe with allegations of ruling party corruption as the country prepares for national polls.
In recent postings on Facebook, “Baba Jukwa” as he calls himself, appears to be the WikiLeaks of Zimbabwe. His Facebook page, about four months old, has almost 250,000 followers and receives hundreds of responses to new posts.
A self-described “concerned father fighting nepotism,” Baba Jukwa offers details of government assassination plots, corruption of government ministers and police brutality.
President Mugabe has reportedly offered a $300,000 reward for anyone willing to out the whistleblower.
In a recent post, Baba Jukwa urged citizens to monitor the vote counting. He wrote that if they wait for July 31, which is national voting day, then ZEC, the electoral commission, will tamper with the results.
“I can tell you cops not to fear anything,” he wrote. “Let’s get rid of evil people together. They can’t kill all of you; remember you are 38,000.”
Long lines and the late delivery of ballot papers marked the two-day early vote, which started July 14, for police officers and soldiers who will be on duty July 31 when the rest of the country votes.
Opposition party leader Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is seeking to end a power-sharing arrangement with Robert Mugabe, which was set up in 2009 following a disputed election. Mugabe, 89, is running for a sixth term as president. He’s been Zimbabwe’s only president since the country became independent in 1980.
Meanwhile, human rights watchdog Amnesty International released a report July 12 accusing Zimbabwean police of clamping down on basic freedoms in the election run-up.
The report, “Walk the Talk,” alleges that Zimbabwean police are conducting systematic raids on offices, arresting human rights defenders and seizing equipment to intimidate and disrupt the work of organizations carrying out voter education and other election-related work.
Zimbabwean authorities have dismissed the report as lacking tangible and verifiable facts.
Although economic hardships blamed on foreign nation sanctions are repeatedly referenced by the president, the U.S. Embassy there dismisses the claim. Only 120 Zimbabweans, several companies and privately held farms fall under U.S. sanctions, according to the Embassy Web site.
However, trade between the United States and Zimbabwe continues to grow, and U.S. foreign aid since 2001 amounts to over $1 billion. Loans blocked by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund are due to the country’s failure to service its debts.