CC image courtesy of U.S. Navy by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jesse B. Awalt
Robert Mugabe, president of Zimbabwe, has reportedly placed a US$330,000 ransom on the head of the Facebook whistleblower known only as “Baba Jukwa”, who actively exposed alleged crimes and corruption of Mugabe’s government.
HumanIPO reported in June the Baba Jukwa Facebook page featured revelations on the malpractice of Zimbabwe’s leaders, especially aimed at Mugabe and his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF).
According to a report by The Independent in the United Kingdom (UK), Mugabe is willing to pay the ransom to anyone who identifies Baba Jukwa.
To date, the Baba Jukwa Facebook page has garnered 249,000 followers on the social media platform. According to statistics posted on the page, Zimbabweans and South Africans make up 71.3 per cent and 18.4 per cent of followers respectively.
The man behind Baba Jukwa describes himself as a “concerned father, fighting nepotism and directly linking [the] community with their leaders, government MPs (Members of Parliament) and ministers”.
Mugabe, together with those working for his government, has reportedly called on Facebook to remove the Baba Jukwa page, but thus far to no avail.
Other news sources suggest Mugabe has turned to members of the Chinese government to assist with identifying the whistleblower and the censoring of the page.
The advent of social media and the increasing availability of mobile phones in Africa is expected to largely impact the presidential and parliamentary elections, which are to take place in the country on July 31.