via Edmund Kudzayi came as a Zanu volunteer—Gumbo | The Zimbabwean 24 June 2014
Zanu (PF)’s national spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo, has denied that his party employed Edmund Kudzayi, the Sunday Editor who is currently facing treason, banditry and other serious charges.
Gumbo acknowledged that Kudzayi helped the Zanu (PF) propaganda and mobilisation unit which fell under him ahead of and after the 2013 general elections, but only as a volunteer.
“We never employed Edmund. Zanu (PF) did not give him a contract of employment even though he did some work for us in the mobilisation team.
“In fact, I hardly knew that boy. I met only once or twice and, to me, he was just one of the youths who had come to help the party on a voluntary basis. We have our procedures of recruiting people and none were applied on Kudzayi,” Gumbo told The Zimbabwean.
Gumbo admitted that no party background checks were done on Kudzayi, who was part of the team that designed and produced marketing and advertising materials for Zanu (PF).
“At that time, there was so much excitement about the party manifesto and so many other things and no-one bothered about youths like Edmund,” he added.
Gumbo declined to comment on who had brought Kudzayi to the party, saying: “For now, I don’t want to be involved in those things. Remember, there is a court case which is ongoing”.
Kudzayi, sources revealed, worked closely with Information Minister, Jonathan Moyo, and the then Indigenisation and Youths Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, who was not reachable for a comment at the time of going to print.
An IT expert, Kudzayi was appointed editor of the Sunday Mail, a weekly Zimpapers publication that is controlled by government as a public media house, early this year during reshuffles at the group, immediately after Moyo was re-appointed information minister.
Zimpapers journalists who talked to this paper then queried his appointment, saying he had little media experience to head the Sunday Mail.
However, he was involved in online media work prior to his returning to Zimbabwe from the UK.
He was arrested last Thursday following investigations into a Facebook project, Baba Jukwa, that revealed sensitive information in the run-up, during and after last year’s elections.
The State alleges that Kudzayi was behind Baba Jukwa, a project that attracted the attention of national security agency who reportedly put a $300,000 prize on his head.
The editor is being accused of calling for the violent overthrow of government, undermining the authority of the president by calling President Robert Mugabe a tyrant and failing to secure ammunition.
He was remanded in custody by a Harare magistrate last Saturday, reappeared in court on Monday and sent back to jail pending a High Court application for bail and his trial will resume on July 7.
Kudzayi apparently sparked his current fate when, on May 11, the Sunday Mail wrote a story that claimed that two South Africa-based journalists—Mxolisi Ncube and Mkhululi Chimoio—had been unmasked by hackers as the faces behind Baba Jukwa.
The story, which was followed up by other publications, reportedly re-ignited security sector interest in Baba Jukwa, leading to renewed investigations that allegedly unearthed him as the faceless online character who caused stirs in Zanu (PF) due to dramatic exposes made on his Facebook page.