SECURITY chiefs are divided over the Baba Jukwa saga following revelations Sunday Mail editor Edmund Kudzayi — who the state believes is the shadowy figure — did consultancy work for the Ministry of Defence (MoD), potentially exposing state and security secrets to the tech savvy Kudzayi without conducting background and security checks.
Owen Gagare/Faith Zaba
There is one group which contracted Kudzayi to help unmask the Baba Jukwa character, which includes senior army commanders at Defence House and a certain section of military intelligence, and another behind the investigations and subsequent arrest of the Sunday Mail editor.
A top government source said: “The security sector is deeply divided over the issue. There are army commanders believed to have been working with (Information minister) Jonathan Moyo, who hired Kudzayi on a contractual basis and another which is behind the investigation into Kudzayi and his collaborators.”
Another senior government official said: “Zimbabwe is in the middle of a life changing drama involving its version of Wikileaks … personified by The Jukwas … Baba and Mai Jukwa. These two characters have drawn in high-profile political figures and officials in Zanu PF in a game of high stakes that threatens to terminate the political careers of both strategists and collaborators alike in this party of simple people!
“A new twist to the drama is the inclusion of the military in this saga.”
An affidavit seen by the Zimbabwe Independent reveals that Kudzayi, who says he was in fact Mai Jukwa, was also working with the police, ostensibly to unmask Baba Jukwa, but the development did not go down well with Defence officials who did not want to share information gathered.
The Defence ministry engaged Kudzayi in August last year to assist them identify Baba Jukwa and his informants or collaborators.
“The MoD was interested in the identities of local collaborators and requested that I carry out forensic work on the email account to find out the real identities of anonymous email accounts that had been in communication. The process took a week and identified about a dozen local collaborators through header data analysis,” reads Kudzayi’s affidavit.
“The information was passed to the MoD as well as the entire digital cache. I remained in control of the email account. I was given an MoD contact who I kept abreast of any developments.”
Kudzayi said after being appointed Sunday Mail editor he wrote stories on Baba Jukwa after which he received calls from the police who requested information.
He also gave a senior police officer the password to Baba Jukwa but after it was hacked in May, he managed to regain control of the account using his mobile number and changed the password.
He was then advised by MoD officials not to supply the police with the new password.
In an affidavit to support his bail application, Kudzayi says he was backstabbed as he was “really assisting the Ministry of Defence” to solve the Baba Jukwa mystery. He said he also did a detailed briefing to high level people in the Ministry of Defence.
“I was even paid for these expert services given that I was doing consultancy work,” he wrote.
Government sources said Kudzayi was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for the consultancy work, raising questions about the source of the funding when government is struggling to pay civil servants.
Some security sector bosses are however worried that if indeed Kudzayi is the brains behind Baba Jukwa, he may have accessed important information while working with military officials.
“It’s a double-edged sword. While that person can assist you to get vital information through hacking, that same person can also use his access to hack you. Who knows what information he has and how he will use it now and in future?” said an official.
In the run up to last year’s general elections, Baba Jukwa would at times reveal details of critical meetings while they were still in progress, including politburo meetings.
Security officials suspect people behind the character were either well connected, or they tapped the Zanu PF headquarters boardroom and important offices.