In recent revolutions and popular uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, social media like Twitter and Facebook have played a key role in mobilizing the masses, and disseminating information.

Sub-Saharan Africa, though, is yet to see a social media-driven event leading to a regime change. For now.

In the past two weeks, I’ve been following the Facebook updates of the Zimbabwean whistleblower Baba Jukwa. Obviously a senior insider from the inner circles of  President Robert Mugabe’s cabinet, Baba Jukwa has been revealing shocking secrets from the core of the Zimbabwean “deep state” on a daily basis.

Detailed plans for election rigging, manipulation of voter lists and ballot stuffing are being revealed. So are assasination plans against key opposition figures, and moderates within the ruling ZANU-PF party. Meticulous details of the systematic, planned campaign to silence and intimidate opposition around the country are also being blown out in the open.

So embarrassing are these leaks, that Mugabe himself is alleged to have put a price of $300,000 (US, and not Zimbabwe Dollars!) on Baba Jukwa’s head.  The frequent statements from Zimbabwean government officials, denying information leaked, and dismissing Baba Jukwa, are rather clear indications that the mole is causing significant pain within the regime.

An amusing element in the leaks, is the continuous publishing of telephone numbers and contact details of government officials participating in  rigging schemes, voter intimidation campaigns. Identities and whereabouts of advisers and operatives assisting the regime in their grand-scale scheme of fraud and intimidation, are also revealed.

As foreign media have been locked out of Zimbabwe during the election campaign, it is difficult to assess the situation in the country from the outside. Baba Jukwa therefore offers a delightful insight into the true nature of Robert Mugabe’s despotic regime.

With 290,000 followers, a number rising by a few thousand every day, Baba Jukwa is becoming a potent source of information about the Zimbabwean people’s struggle for liberation. A regime based on intimidation, oppression, theft and assassinations cannot survive where there is transparency.

If, despite frantic efforts to rig the election and to silence the people, Mugabe’s regime is toppled, then Baba Jukwa may well go into the history books as the spur of Sub-Saharan Africa’s first Facebook-driven revolution.

Baba Jukwa’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Baba-Jukwa/232224626922797

0