ZIMBABWE – THE man police accuse of funding the Baba Jukwa Facebook page, Chawarika Matongorere yesterday called for the investigation of Zanu-PF secretary for information and publicity Rugare Gumbo over his involvement in the saga.
In an interview from his base in South Africa Matongorere said police can’t say that The Sunday Mail Editor Edmund Kudzayi was behind the faceless character without interrogating Gumbo who roped him into the party’s information department ahead of last year’s harmonised elections.
Kudzayi and his brother Phillip are accused of being behind the shadowy Facebook character, that has since closed shop, and the duo have been arraigned before the magistrate courts facing charges of terrorism, subversion and undermining the authority of the President through the Facebook account. They both deny the charges.
Kudzayi and Zanu-PF deputy director of information Psychology Maziwisa were brought into the party’s ranks by Cde Gumbo. In July this year the Zimbabwe Republic Police indicated that they were looking for Matongorere who according to correspondence they hacked into was the financier of the Baba Jukwa case.
But in an unsolicited interview yesterday Matongorere said President Mugabe was right in expressing surprise at the failure by police to interrogate Cde Gumbo given his relationship with Kudzayi and Maziwisa. “Gumbo is the Godfather of the Baba Jukwa case. He should be investigated. I am equally surprised why he has not been interrogated just as President Mugabe is surprised,” said Matongorere.
His comments followed a report in yesterday’s edition of The Sunday Mail that President Mugabe had quizzed Cde Gumbo as to why police had not interrogated him given that he co-opted Kudzayi, the main suspect in the case, into the ruling party’s 2013 election campaign.
It is understood that Gumbo stammered that he did not know Kudzayi personally. Matongorere said there was no justifiable reason why Gumbo and Mr Maziwisa should not be interrogated given the way they worked closely with the main suspect.
He said it was strange that the police had interrogated Environment, Water and Climate Minister Savior Kasukuwere, whose role, if any was more on the periphery, leaving the real people who worked with the alleged culprit.
“They interviewed (Minister) Kasukuwere who was actually a victim of Baba Jukwa’s attacks but left those who worked with the main suspect who actually recruited him in Zanu-PF’s election campaign. Clearly you could see that Baba Jukwa was working with senior people in the party and when the President makes reference of Cde Gumbo it now becomes clearer to some of us about what was going on,” he said.
Commenting on his role regarding allegations of funding Baba Jukwa, Matongorere, said while it was true that he communicated with a person who claimed to be the phantom blogger they never met.
He said the police had only managed to access email communication he had with him but had not secured Facebook correspondence he had with Baba Jukwa which he said contained more detailed information that could help them. “I am still in shock with police allegations that I funded Baba Jukwa and wrote subversive material on social media. I can’t deny communicating with Baba Jukwa and it’s true he approached me to set him up with people who may fund his project,” Matongorere said.
Matongorere said he exchanged several correspondences with the person calling himself Baba Jukwa but later suspected that he was being trapped when a senior party official called him to inform him that they knew he was communicating with Baba Jukwa and were on his tail.
Asked why of all people Baba Jukwa had approached him, Matongorere said the blogger must have known that he worked with several people across the political divide on various projects.
Matongorere said he was eager to come back home but was being held back by the allegations that he funded Baba Jukwa which he said were not true.
“I have an ex-wife who is in Zimbabwe threatening to nail me if I return. As a result of that it is now three years without seeing my children who are in Zimbabwe. It pains me a lot,” Matongorere said.