New Zimbabwe and Zimpapers sued for staggering $50 m each for false #Baba Jukwa allegations | Africa in the news New Zimbabwe and Zimpapers sued for staggering $50 m each for false #Baba Jukwa allegations – Africa in the news
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New Zimbabwe and Zimpapers sued for staggering $50 m each for false #Baba Jukwa allegations

By Kelvin Mupungu

Baba Jukwa drama rages on

Ncube and Chimoio are fighting back

As Editor for Zimbabwe’s state owned  and biggest weekly Sunday Mail Edmund Kudzayi spends tenth night in cells in Harare, his employers have been slapped with a staggering $50 million lawsuit for allegations raised following an investigative article he allegedly authored and authorised for publication as editor .

On 11th/12th  May 2014 a YouTube demonstration of  who #Baba Jukwa was and how technology had been used to unmask the suspects as mentioned – MXOLISI NCUBE AND MKULULI CHIMOIO who are Zimbabwean journalists both based in South Africa.

Also slapped with a lawsuit of equal amount is online news publication New Zimbabwe for the similar reasons to Zimpapers.

NewsAfrica is in possession of the notices which were served on the two media houses and have been confirmed as received according to Mr Obert Gutu of Gutu & Chikwezvero law firm in Harare. The notice asks for demands as mentioned to be met within seven days .

“We are vigorously pursuing the defamation damages claim.Letters of demand have already been dispatched and received” ,

wrote Mr Gutu in response to questions raised by NewsAfrica.

Mr Gutu also expressed shock at why ZRP would include his client Mxolisi Ncube on the “Baba Jukwa Wanted List” when he has been cooperating and assisting police with their investigation all long and is going to be formally cleared in the “next few days”.

Regards to charges and allegations being raised against Kudzayi brothers, Mr Gutu played cautiously by preferring the law to take its course.

Below is the YouTube lecture that made the serious allegations that Mxolisi Ncube and Mkululi Chimoio had been unmasked as being responsible for publications by Facebook account calling themselves Baba Jukwa. Also mentioned in the YouTube presentation were founder,publisher and Editor of the weekly publication The Zimbabwean, Wilf  Mbanga, who went on to be added to the  now famous “Baba Jukwa Wanted List”. (It must be stressed that all those mentioned have since refuted the allegations)

New Zimbabwe

Please find below the demand notice that has been served to New Zimbabwe Editor Mr Gilbert Nyambabvu and New Zimbabwe CEO Mr Jeff Madzingo

 

Subject: MXOLISI NCUBE and MKULULI CHIMOIO: CLAIM FOR DEFAMATION DAMAGES IN THE SUM OF USD50,000,000.00

Friday, June 27, 2014

Editor
newzimbabwe.com
Birmingham
UNITED KINGDOM

Attention: Mr. Gilbert Nyambabvu

Dear Sir

Re:     OUR CLIENTS: MXOLISI NCUBE AND MKULULI CHIMOIO: CLAIM FOR DEFAMATION
DAMAGES IN THE SUM OF USD50,000,000.00 (FIFTY MILLION UNITED STATES
DOLLARS)

We address you at the instance of Messrs. Mxolisi Ncube and Mkululi
Chimoio. Please note our brief.

Our clients are Zimbabwean citizens who are currently  based in South
Africa where they are working as professional journalists. On divers
occasions between the months of April and May 2014, the newzimbabwe.com
online publication ran a series of stories in which both our clients were
identified as the faceless Facebook political character, Baba Jukwa. Your
online publication categorically claimed that Baba Jukwa had been
successfully unmasked and that in fact, the faceless Facebook character,
Baba Jukwa, was Mkululi Chimoio and Mxolisi Ncube. These stories by your
online publication were patently false, wrongful, malicious, unlawful and
highly defamatory of both our clients. The said stories were intended and
indeed, they were understood by the readers of the newzimbabwe.com online
publication to mean that both our clients were untrustworthy, dangerous
saboteurs and criminally-minded terrorists who were bent on spreading
alarm and despondency within the state of Zimbabwe and who were also
actively involved in planning and plotting treasonous acts with the
intention of overthrowing the constitutionally-elected government of
Zimbabwe. For the record, both our clients strenuously and categorically
deny that they are the faceless Facebook character, Baba Jukwa. More
particularly, our clients maintain that they are law-abiding Zimbabwean
citizens who are professional journalists; plying their trade from their
base in South Africa.

Whilst it is true that Mxolisi Ncube wrote about four (4) stories on Baba
Jukwa, it is also true that these stories where just an analysis of issues
based on the on-goings on Baba Jukwa’s wall on Facebook. Although Mxolisi
Ncube’s Yahoo e-mail account has the Baba Jukwa tagline on it, that does
not mean nor imply that Mxolisi Ncube is indeed Baba Jukwa. For the
record, on or about May 21, 2013, the faceless Facebook character, Baba
Jukwa, sent a message to a long list of international journalists who
included both our clients. In the said message, the faceless Facebook
character, Baba Jukwa, was introducing his Facebook page as well as
requesting international journalists to spread the word about the page and
also promising “lead stories” on Zimbabwe and the African National
Congress (ANC) of South Africa. Mxolisi Ncube, categorically denies that
Baba Jukwa used his e-mail details and contact phone numbers. He
reiterates that he is not Baba Jukwa. Mxolisi Ncube’s only up-close and
personal contact with the faceless Facebook character, Baba Jukwa, was
through some in box messages the first of which was the introduction of
himself on May 21, 2013, a few weeks after Mxolisi Ncube had begun to
follow Baba Jukwa’s Facebook page. In the second message on March 23,
2013, Mxolisi Ncube requested that Baba Jukwa exclusively send to him some
of the information that he had. This would enable Mxolisi  Ncube to
undertake further investigations and if possible, write stories for his
online publication. At all material times, Mxolisi Ncube was lawfully and
legitimately conducting himself as an investigative  journalist.

Mxolisi Ncube’s last message to the faceless Facebook character, Baba
Jukwa, was on February 16, 2014 wherein he requested to do a story on Baba
Jukwa. Baba Jukwa had indicated in one of his Facebook postings, that he
was closing down his page. Baba Jukwa did not respond to Mxolisi Ncube’s
request and as such, the story was not done. The aforementioned
correspondence is the only connection that Mxolisi Ncube had with the
faceless Facebook character, Baba Jukwa. Indeed, all the formal messages
are still available both on Mxolisi Ncube’s Facebook account and also in
printed form, as evidence.

We reiterate that the allegation that Mxolisi Ncube is Baba Jukwa is
therefore  false, unfounded, baseless, malicious and defamatory. By being
falsely and maliciously labeled as Baba Jukwa by your publication, Mxolisi
Ncube, was insulted, degraded and defamed. This was made worse by the fact
that Mxolisi Ncube’s photographs were splashed on to the various articles
that were run by your online publication. Our client’s professional
reputation as a journalist, which reputation was built painstakingly over
a number of years, was therefore, unfairly and unlawfully destroyed as a
direct result of the false, wrongful, unlawful, malicious and defamatory
stories that were published by your online publication. Mxolisi Ncube was
particularly irked by the false story that was carried by your online
publication alleging that he was planning acts of insurgency with one Roy
Bennett against  the sovereign state of Zimbabwe. For the record; never in
his life has Mxolisi Ncube sat in a meeting with Roy Bennett and neither
has he had any links and/or communication with Roy Bennett.

The false, wrongful, unlawful, malicious and defamatory stories that were
published by your online publication against Mxolisi Ncube had a serious
detrimental effect on both his professional and personal lives. Because of
the said stories, Mxolisi Ncube was torn apart from members of his family
and he was also alienated from his friends who were no longer trusting him
as they now believed that he was a very dangerous person who was plotting
to unlawfully over-throw the government of Zimbabwe. The said false
stories also devastated members of our client’s family by bringing severe
mental stress and total fear into their lives.

As a result of the aforementioned false, wrongful, unlawful, malicious and
defamatory stories that were published by your online publication, our
client has suffered irreparable harm and prejudice to both his
professional and personal lives. Mxolisi Ncube has instructed us to demand
from your online publication, as we hereby do:

a)      an unequivocal written retraction of all the false, wrongful, unlawful,
malicious and defamatory stories that were written about him, claiming
that he had been unmasked as the faceless Facebook character, Baba Jukwa;

b)      an unconditional written apology; and

c)      payment of defamation damages in the sum of USD25,000,000.00 (twenty
five million United States Dollars) by the newzimbabwe.com as the
publishers of the said online publication as well as the online
publication; jointly and severally, the one paying the other to be
absolved.

As regards Mkululi Chimoio, we are instructed that in or around April 13,
2013, he had been following the fast rising Facebook page titled Baba
Jukwa. Although Mkululi Chimoio hardly communicated with the so-called
Baba Jukwa; as a practising investigative journalist, he kept a close  eye
on Baba Jukwa’s Facebook updates and he followed on Baba Jukwa’s leads
from some of which he developed and wrote stories.

Mkululi Chimoio maintains that the stories that were published by your
online publication, claiming to have unmasked him as Baba Jukwa, also
caused him untold harm and prejudice in both his professional and private
lives. For Mkululi Chimoio, it was particularly hurtful and damaging that
his innocent two year old daughter was also unwittingly dragged into this
fiasco by having her photographs splashed on social media networks. On
behalf of Mkululi Chimoio, we are instructed to demand, as we hereby do:

a)      an unequivocal written retraction of all the false, wrongful, unlawful,
malicious and defamatory stories that were written about him, claiming
that he had been unmasked as the faceless Facebook character, Baba Jukwa;

b)      an unconditional written apology; and

c)      payment of defamation damages in the sum of USD25,000,000 (twenty five
million United States dollars) by the newzimbabwe.com online publication
as well as the publishers of the said online publication; jointly and
severally; the one paying the other to be absolved.

Please be advised that if our clients’ demands are not met, in full,
within seven (7) days from the date of this letter, we are under firm
instructions to proceed to take appropriate legal action without further
notice.

Please be guided accordingly.

Zimpapers

As we now know, the charge sheet for Edmund Kudzayi alleges that the above YouTube lecture was authored and authorised for publication by their suspect. It therefore imply that allegations made against the claimants Ncube and Chimoio primarily originated from Zimpapers who are the publishers of The Herald and The Sunday Mail where Kudzayi worked.

Please find below the demand notice which was served to The Editor of The Herald and Zimpapers CEO.

 

Subject: CLAIM FOR DEFAMATION DAMAGES


Wednesday June 25, 2014

Editor
The Herald
Herald House
HARARE

Dear Sir

Re:     OUR CLIENTS: MXOLISI NCUBE AND MKULULI CHIMOIO: CLAIM FOR DEFAMATION
DAMAGES IN THE SUM OF USD50,000,000.00 (FIFTY MILLION UNITED STATES
DOLLARS)

We address you at the instance of Messrs. Mxolisi Ncube and Mkululi
Chimoio. Please note our brief.

Our clients are Zimbabwean citizens who are currently  based in South
Africa where they are working as professional journalists. On divers
occasions between the months of April and May 2014, the Herald newspaper
ran a series of stories in which both our clients were identified as the
faceless Facebook political character, Baba Jukwa. Your newspaper
categorically claimed that Baba Jukwa had been successfully unmasked and
that in fact, the faceless Facebook character, Baba Jukwa, was Mkululi
Chimoio and Mxolisi Ncube. These stories by your newspaper were patently
false, wrongful, malicious, unlawful and highly defamatory of both our
clients. The said stories were intended and indeed, they were understood
by the readers of the Herald newspaper to mean that both our clients were
untrustworthy, dangerous saboteurs and criminally-minded terrorists who
were bent on spreading alarm and despondency within the state of Zimbabwe
and who were also actively involved in planning and plotting treasonous
acts with the intention of overthrowing the constitutionally-elected
government of Zimbabwe. For the record, both our clients strenuously and
categorically deny that they are the faceless Facebook character, Baba
Jukwa. More particularly, our clients maintain that they are law-abiding
Zimbabwean citizens who are professional journalists; plying their trade
from their base in South Africa.

Whilst it is true that Mxolisi Ncube wrote about four (4) stories on Baba
Jukwa, it is also true that these stories where just an analysis of issues
based on the on-goings on Baba Jukwa’s wall on Facebook. Although Mxolisi
Ncube’s Yahoo e-mail account has the Baba Jukwa tagline on it, that does
not mean nor imply that Mxolisi Ncube is indeed Baba Jukwa. For the
record, on or about May 21, 2013, the faceless Facebook character, Baba
Jukwa, sent a message to a long list of international journalists who
included both our clients. In the said message, the faceless Facebook
character, Baba Jukwa, was introducing his Facebook page as well as
requesting international journalists to spread the word about the page and
also promising “lead stories” on Zimbabwe and the African National
Congress (ANC) of South Africa. Mxolisi Ncube, categorically denies that
Baba Jukwa used his e-mail details and contact phone numbers. He
reiterates that he is not Baba Jukwa. Mxolisi Ncube’s only up-close and
personal contact with the faceless Facebook character, Baba Jukwa, was
through some in box messages the first of which was the introduction of
himself on May 21, 2013, a few weeks after Mxolisi Ncube had begun to
follow Baba Jukwa’s Facebook page. In the second message on March 23,
2013, Mxolisi Ncube requested that Baba Jukwa exclusively send to him
some of the information that he had. This would enable Mxolisi  Ncube to
undertake further investigations and if possible, write stories for his
newspaper. At all material times, Mxolisi Ncube was lawfully and
legitimately conducting himself as an investigative  journalist.

Mxolisi Ncube’s last message to the faceless Facebook character, Baba
Jukwa, was on February 16, 2014 wherein he requested to do a story on Baba
Jukwa. Baba Jukwa had indicated in one of his Facebook postings, that he
was closing down his page. Baba Jukwa did not respond to Mxolisi Ncube’s
request and as such, the story was not done. The aforementioned
correspondence is the only connection that Mxolisi Ncube had with the
faceless Facebook character, Baba Jukwa. Indeed, all the formal messages
are still available both on Mxolisi Ncube’s Facebook account and also in
printed form, as evidence.

We reiterate that the allegation that Mxolisi Ncube is Baba Jukwa is
therefore  false, unfounded, baseless, malicious and defamatory. By being
falsely and maliciously labeled as Baba Jukwa by your publication, Mxolisi
Ncube, was insulted, degraded and defamed. This was made worse by the fact
that Mxolisi Ncube’s photographs were splashed on to the various articles
that were run by your newspaper. Our client’s professional reputation as a
journalist, which reputation was built painstakingly over a number of
years, was therefore, unfairly and unlawfully destroyed as a direct result
of the false, wrongful, unlawful, malicious and defamatory stories that
were published by your newspaper. Mxolisi Ncube was particularly irked by
the false story that was carried by your newspaper alleging that he was
planning acts of insurgency with one Roy Bennett against  the sovereign
state of Zimbabwe. For the record; never in his life has Mxolisi Ncube sat
in a meeting with Roy Bennett and neither has he had any links and/or
communication with Roy Bennett.

The false, wrongful, unlawful, malicious and defamatory stories that were
published by your newspaper against Mxolisi Ncube had a serious
detrimental effect on both his professional and personal lives. Because of
the said stories, Mxolisi Ncube was torn apart from members of his family
and he was also alienated from his friends who were no longer trusting him
as they now believed that he was a very dangerous person who was plotting
to unlawfully over-throw the government of Zimbabwe. The said false
stories also devastated members of our client’s family by bringing severe
mental stress and total fear into their lives.

As a result of the aforementioned false, wrongful, unlawful, malicious and
defamatory stories that were published by your newspaper, our client has
suffered irreparable harm and prejudice to both his professional and
personal lives. Mxolisi Ncube has instructed us to demand from your
publication, as we hereby do:

a)      an unequivocal written retraction of all the false, wrongful, unlawful,
malicious and defamatory stories that were written about him, claiming
that he had been unmasked as the faceless Facebook character, Baba Jukwa;

b)      an unconditional written apology; and

c)      payment of defamation damages in the sum of USD25,000,000.00 (twenty
five million United States Dollars) by the Editor of the Herald newspaper
as well as the publishers of the said newspaper; Zimbabwe Newspapers
(1980) (Private) Limited; jointly and severally, the one paying the other
to be absolved.

As regards Mkululi Chimoio, we are instructed that in or around April 13,
2013, he had been following the fast rising Facebook page titled Baba
Jukwa. Although Mkululi Chimoio hardly communicated with the so-called
Baba Jukwa; as a practising investigative journalist, he kept a close  eye
on Baba Jukwa’s Facebook updates and he followed on Baba Jukwa’s leads
from some of which he developed and wrote stories.

Mkululi Chimoio maintains that the stories that were published by your
newspaper, claiming to have unmasked him as Baba Jukwa, also caused him
untold harm and prejudice in both his professional and private lives. For
Mkululi Chimoio, it was particularly hurtful and damaging that his
innocent two year old daughter was also unwittingly dragged into this
fiasco by having her photographs splashed on social media networks. On
behalf of Mkululi Chimoio, we are instructed to demand, as we hereby do:

a)      an unequivocal written retraction of all the false, wrongful, unlawful,
malicious and defamatory stories that were written about him, claiming
that he had been unmasked as the faceless Facebook character, Baba Jukwa;

b)      an unconditional written apology; and

c)      payment of defamation damages in the sum of USD25,000,000 (twenty five
million United States dollars) by the Editor of the Herald newspaper as
well as the publishers of the said newspaper; Zimbabwe Newspapers (1980)
(Private) Limited; jointly and severally; the one paying the other to be
absolved.

Please be advised that if our clients’ demands are not met, in full,
within seven (7) days from the date of this letter, we are under firm
instructions to proceed to take appropriate legal action without further
notice.

Please be guided accordingly.

It must be stressed for our part that we attempted to get official comments from both media houses by the time this article was published but unfortunately we got none.

Mugabe started media slaughter?

Freedom of expression is under severe scrutiny in Zimbabwe following the President Mugabe’s public redress of Information Minister Jonathan Moyo recently. As argued by one of the “confession documents” written by Kudzayi, those responsible for his arrest aim at impressing Mugabe at all costs. From that assertion Kudzayi seem to imply him pointing a blame at the people(s) Mugabe attacked at Heroes Acre recently. Is Kudzayi implying that he was stitched or betrayed?

The impact of this onslaught on media is creation of a culture of “self censorship” by journalists in Zimbabwe. Such also marks the death of democracy because as Mandela said,

“A critical, independent and investigative press is the lifeblood of any democracy”


Media around the world do not believe that Sunday Mail Editor is/ was Baba Jukwa because of his admission to being behind Amai Jukwa Facebook character. Comparing the context of the content from the two publications, there is no way they can be the same person.  Baba Jukwa’s command of English and writing skills point to someone less affluent than Kudzayi. For that reason, most analysts believe that regardless of how long “politically” Kudzayi brothers may be locked in remand, the state’s case carries no water. It may not even go to court. They are convinced Kudzayi brothers are not Baba Jukwa.

Up until July 2013, NewsAfrica conducted own work of investigative journalism into the work and motivation behind Baba Jukwa and concluded that the character was potentially a hardcore disgruntled Zanu PF member who could be in Politburo and/or could even be a war veteran but possesses tremendous amount of respect for  President Mugabe. According to our investigation , the character belonged to the other faction which disliked Kasukuwere and the faction he might belong to. It must be stressed though that some of the allegations published by Baba Jukwa then, carried some truths  and did a great justice to the concept of Freedom of Expression . Its possible that leading to elections, most Zimbabweans were discussing staff published by the character.

NewsAfrica share the same opinion with the skeptics who still believe that Baba Jukwa authors are still out there.

For the reason that we had our own theory as to who we suspected to be Baba Jukwa we desisted from publishing allegations which New Zimbabwe , The  Herald and The Sunday Mail are being sued for.

For us Ncube and Chimoio could not be suspects at all because they did not fit the profile we had built about Baba Jukwa.

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