Fresh details have emerged that government never consulted United States-based online giants Google and Facebook during investigations over the origins of the internet character Baba Jukwa.
The revelations were made by TechZim at a recent event organised by MISA Zimbabwe. The online tech news company’s founder, Limbikani Makani, said online investigations revealed that no requests were ever made to Google or Facebook by government in connection with the Baba Jukwa case.
“No official request was made by (the) Zimbabwean government to Google or Facebook on the Baba Jukwa case,” he boldly stated. All requests to do with such matters are archived online and can be accessed by all internet users, he said, arguing that the case was not archived – meaning that government never made a request for the information.
Trial of Kudzai
“It’s there for public consumption. You can check all the organisations or governments that have made similar requests, it’s available online,” said Makani.
The astonishing revelations come as state media reports claimed that a team of investigators were sent to America to engage Google and Facebook over who created the Baba Jukwa Facebook page. The team was allegedly sent during the trial of Edmund Kudzai, former Sunday Mail editor appointed by former Information Minister Jonathan Moyo.
Kudzai was hauled before the courts by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) who accused him of being the face behind Baba Jukwa. Ironically, Kudzai had just published a story in the state-controlled papers claiming to have unmasked two foreign- based Zimbabwean journalists as Baba Jukwa. In his defence, Kudzai who is an internet expert, demanded proof from Google and Facebook, which tied him as the creator of the page. This led to the alleged dispatch of an investigating officer to America. However, the findings were never availed in court, and Kudzai was eventually acquitted.
The Baba Jukwa Facebook page drew millions of Zimbabwean followers during the run up to the July 2013 election. It leaked sensitive information to do with Zanu (PF) internal fighting, state security threats and death threats against ruling party members.