Robert Mugabe offers $300,000 bounty for Facebook whistleblower
Tired of having his dirty laundry aired weeks before Zimbabwe's first election since 2008, President Robert Mugabe has reportedly put up a hefty reward for anyone who can unmask an anonymous whistleblower who has been leaking regime secrets via Facebook.
Since March 2013, Baba Jukwa, the Facebook page of a self-described "concerned father," has been publicly condemning Zimbabwe politicians—often members of Mugabe's Zanu-PF party—for nepotism and corruption. In addition to giving detailed accounts of their nefarious activities, Baba Jukwa also provides readers with the politicians’ personal information so that they can be contacted held accountable for their actions.
In a post published 9 hours ago, for example, Baba Jukwa alleges that Ignatius Chombo—the country's Minister of Local Government, Public Works, and Urban Development—promised a huge tract of land to someone in exchange for helping kill his estranged wife.
Unsurprisingly, Baba Jukwa has achieved massive popularity in the country. As of this writing, the Facebook page has amassed more than 250,000 likes. In late June 2013, Zimbabwean news outlet Newsday published an editorial imploring its readers to take Baba Jukwa seriously.
Heeding that advice is Mugabe himself. Multiple news outlets are reporting that the Zimbabwean President, who has been in power since 1980, has offered between $300,000 and $330,000 to anyone who identifies the whistleblower. The exact figure is in dispute. Australia's ABC News claims it's the former while British newspaper The Independent alleges the latter.
Mugabe has also allegedly been calling Facebook to get them to take the page down, as well as reaching out to the Chinese government to censor the page. Neither of these efforts has been successful.
Photo via a-birdie/Flickr