Zimbabwe’s coming election – The spirit of wrath is upon us

from The Economist..

June 29, 2013 | JOHANNESBURG | From the print edition

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AS POLITICIANS wrangle over the precise date of Zimbabwe’s imminent presidential and parliamentary elections, the clarion call of “Baba Jukwa” has cut through the din. Claiming to be a disgruntled insider from President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party, the gossipy Facebook page belonging to this mysterious character, whose name echoes that of a spirit medium, has drawn more than 185,000 “likes” in just three months, with hundreds of responses to every post.

Some think Baba Jukwa is a sort of Zimbabwean Robin Hood, stealing secrets from the ruling party and sharing them with the disfranchised masses. Every day the blogger names and shames politicians for alleged corruption and brutality, often including their mobile-phone numbers with instructions to call and demand answers. Other posts encourage Zimbabweans to register to vote. “Asijiki!” Baba Jukwa signs off. “No turning back!”

Zimbabweans tend to believe that this pseudonymous rabble-rouser really is an insider. An editorial in Newsday, an independent daily, told its readers to “take Baba Jukwa seriously”, adding that “It will be naive to ignore what this Facebook character says as we go towards watershed elections.” The state-controlled Herald newspaper, slavishly pro-Mugabe, denounced the “sinister elements” and “stooges” behind Baba Jukwa.

…….

It had been agreed that the voters’ register, the state security machine and the media laws should all be reformed before the poll. But none of this has happened. “An early and rapid election will play in Zanu-PF’s favour in that it is easy to rig where preparations are done rapidly,” says Baba Jukwa. As there has been “no time to implement key electoral reforms, my party is in full control of the current system.”

Link to the entire article:  http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21580163-mysterious-facebook-character-predicting-murder-and-mayhem-spirit

 

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