POLICE are hunting for veteran Zimbabwean journalist Wilf Mbanga, his wife Trish and seven other people as the net widens on those suspected to be behind the shadowy Facebook character and blogger “Baba Jukwa”.
CHARLES LAITON/FELUNA NLEYA
The Mbanga couple are based in the United Kingdom and publishes The Zimbabwean, a weekly newspaper which used to feature a column written by the faceless Baba Jukwa.
Police Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba yesterday said besides the arrest of the Kudzayi brothers, Edmund and Philip, the law-enforcement agents had cast their net wide pursuant to their investigations with the view to arrest the outstanding suspects.
Charamba said apart from the Mbangas, police were keen to interview The Zimbabwean newspaper correspondent based in South Africa Mxolisi Ncube (38), a system and software engineer based in the United Kingdom (UK) Walter Shoko, a computer programmer based in the UK, Samson Chifamba, a Zimbabwean based in UK, George Chirakasha, Anomie Drew, Piniel Nhokodi, Romeo Musemburi and Sarudzai Florence.
“All the accused persons are administrators to firstname.lastname@example.org and Baba Jukwa Facebook page. This is the reason why the Baba Jukwa Facebook page is still active. The wanted persons are based in various global locations and network to post subversive articles on this person,” Charamba said.
Mbanga last night said police seemed to be on a “phishing expedition”.
“They only have to read a copy of the Sunday Mail of May 11th where my hacked email exchange with Baba Jukwa was published,” he said. “This clearly shows that I had nothing to do with the said Facebook page. The Sunday Mail itself claimed that I had been duped into paying my own reporters to publish some of Baba Jukwa’s exposes that were already on Facebook and the Internet.
“Why would I offer to pay for something if I was an administrator?”
Mbanga said he was more than willing to co-operate with the police and help them in any way with their investigations.
“But I can assure them right now that nobody from The Zimbabwean was involved in any way with the administration of the Facebook page. None of the names mentioned in the statement below are known to me. I don’t even know either of the Kudzai brothers,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sunday Mail editor Edmund, who has since been charged with subverting a constitutional government or alternatively attempting to commit an act of insurgency, banditry, sabotage or terrorism, yesterday appeared at the High Court for his bail application, but the matter failed to be heard after the Prosecutor-General’s Office sought postponement of the matter.
Chief law officer Tawanda Zvekare told High Court judge Justice Ester Muremba that Kudzayi, through his lawyers Rubaya & Chatambudza Legal Practitioners, had submitted a voluminous court record for which the State needed more time to peruse before filing its response.
Justice Muremba, however, postponed the mater to Wednesday next week after ordering that the State files its response by Monday and Kudzayi’s lawyer Everson Chatambudza to file his response by Tuesday before the hearing date.
Kudzayi (28) is accused of being the brains behind the shadowy Facebook character and blogger known as Baba Jukwa.