Plot Thickens In Zim As Authorities Charge Journalist For Attempting To Overthrow Mugabe

Harare, June 21, 2014 – Zimbabwean authorities have charged a newspaper editor for attempting to overthrow President Robert Mugabe’s administration through unconstitutional means and for insulting the ageing ZANU PF leader.

State prosecutor Tawanda Zvekare told Harare Magistrate Vimbai Chikwekwe that 28 year-old Edmund Kudakwashe Kudzayi who has been in police detention since his arrest Thursday 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, whom they claimed is a computer software engineer 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.

Zvekare 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 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.

Zvekare said although the state-run Sunday Mail newspaper published a story on 11 May 2014 entitled “Hackers unmask Baba Jukwa” about the true identity of Baba Jukwa, investigations by the police had revealed that Edmund was the one in control of the Baba Jukwa gmail account as his details were on the recovery panel of the account.

“Furthermore, investigations revealed that the account was never hacked into,” reads part of the charge sheet.

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, Zvekare 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.

“He further called the President a tyrant and accused him of taking the land from white farmers and giving it to his cronies and not the people of Zimbabwe,” reads part of the charges.

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.

Edmund was remanded in custody to Monday when his lawyer Joseph Mandizha is expected to mount a bail application