Harare, June 23, 2014 – A Zimbabwean court on Monday condemned Edmund Kudakwashe Kudzayi, the Editor of the state-run Sunday Mail newspaper to endure more jail time after he was remanded in custody to next month.
Harare Magistrate Vakai Chikwekwe remanded Kudzayi in custody to 7 July 2014 when he appeared in court Monday and advised his lawyer Joseph Mandizha to apply for the admission of his client on bail at the High Court if he so wishes because the Magistrates Court has no jurisdiction to entertain the freedom bid.
Kudzayi was arrested Thursday and charged charged with committing a raft of serious criminal offences such as attempting to overthrow President Robert Mugabe’s administration through unconstitutional means and for insulting the ageing ZANU PF leader.
The state claims that the 28 year-old Kudzayi plotted to subvert a constitutional government and attempted to commit acts of insurgency, banditry, sabotage or terrorism in contravention of Section 22 (2) (a) (i) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23 and Section 23 (1) (a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23.
The state alleges that Kudzayi authored and published articles which were false and meant to incite, urge or suggest the setting up of any group or body with a view to overthrow President Mugabe’s government by unconstitutional means.
Prosecutors charged that Edmund connived with his elder brother Phillip and some other people who are still at large and hatched a plan to overthrow President Mugabe’s administration by unconstitutional means in the run up to last year’s general elections. Kudzayi allegedly created a gmail account email@example.com using an Econet mobile number +263 771 446 541 registered in Phillip’s name and which Edmund is using. The gmail account was allegedly used to create the Facebook account known as Baba Jukwa.
Edmund together with other unnamed accused persons calling themselves the Gunda Nleya Brigade and Zimbabwe Revolutionary Army planned and plotted to overthrow Mugabe’s government through waging war and urged people to join the Zimbabwe Revolutionary Army, the State claimed.
Edmund, the state charged, posted articles on Baba Jukwa Facebook page encouraging rebellion against Mugabe’s government if the July 2013 elections were stolen.
The creation of the Baba Jukwa Facebook page, the state said, was meant to whip up emotions from those who would have accessed and read the articles on the Baba Jukwa Facebook account.
On the charge of undermining authority of or insulting Mugabe in contravention of Section 33 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23, the State claimed that Edmund unlawfully and intentionally wrote an article published on the Zimbabwe Mail, an online publication attacking Mugabe and falsely labelled him a dictator who “commits gross human rights abuses” and had “stolen the 2008 elections” and had presided over the “economic collapse” of the country.
Apart from the terrorism charges Edmund is also accused of contravening Section 28 (2) of the Fire Arms Act Chapter 10:09 for allegedly failing to secure his ammunition properly after the police recovered thirteen rounds of ammunition from his residence and at his Zimbabwe Newspapers office.
Baba Jukwa, a faceless blogger who attracted a large following amongst Zimbabweans ran a blizzard of posts in the run up to last year’s general elections under a an all-out information war against ZANU PF party offering what some information starved Zimbabweans believed was the first real insight into the inner-workings of the ruling party that has ruled the southern African country since independence in 1980 and only lost grip when it entered into a coalition government with veteran opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in 2009.