Thursday 21 September 2017

Mugabe in $300k bid to root out party mole

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe

Jane Flanagan Cape Town

President Robert Mugabe has offered a $300,000 reward to anyone who can unmask an anonymous whistleblower behind a string of leaks about alleged Zimbabwean government assassination plots, corruption and plans to rig this month's election.

The well-informed mole, who calls himself "Baba Jukwa" and appears to be operating from within the heart of the regime, began posting revelations on a Facebook page four months ago.

The page has been viewed more than a million times and he has amassed more than 239,000 followers, with hundreds of responses and shares to every update. Efforts to track down the mole have so far failed. His postings have accused government ministers of corruption and police chiefs of brutality, publishing their private mobile telephone numbers.

Reassuring government statements about 89-year-old Mr Mugabe's health have been contradicted, so infuriating the president that he offered the reward for exposing the mole – details of which were revealed by Baba Jukwa.

Determined attempts by senior Zanu-PF party officials to persuade Facebook to close the page failed and the president has now appealed to friends in the Chinese government for technical support to censor the site and identify its user.

The most unnerving postings by the mole – or moles, as seems more likely – were published last month and warned of an assassination plot against a former government minister who was suspected by Zanu-PF of leaking information.

Edward Chindori-Chininga was then killed in a car crash shortly after publicly criticising Zimbabwe's controversial diamond industry. "I told you there will be body bags coming this year... The war has begun,'' Baba Jukwa posted on his wall after the politician's death.

UNEXPLAINED

The minister died when his car hit a tree, and no other vehicle was involved. Opponents of Mr Mugabe in the past have died in similar unexplained accidents.

The advent of social media in Zimbabwe, which has dramatically influenced political events elsewhere in the world, is predicted to have a significant impact on elections due to be held on July 31.

Most access to the internet is via mobile telephones, with more than six million users having direct access in a country with a population of 10 million. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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