The shadowy Facebook character was an instant hit as a result of the mostly believable bits of whistleblowing, entailing what happened in exclusive closed door meetings among political stalwarts in a manner which at the time could lead to incarceration or abduction. Phrases like “Bhora musango” became common lingo in politics and there was a feeling that the publication of such dirty secrets would precipitate the ruling party’s collapse. A landslide victory for Zanu PF, however, was attributed to what was now considered misguidance from Baba Jukwa, and ironically that was almost the same time the account became inactive. Fast-forward to 2018, with only six weeks left before this year’s watershed polls, social media is playing a significantly influential role.
The “Baba Jukwa” phenomenon is widespread and even advanced as both visuals and audios have become common feature making it easier to verify information circulated. It is also no longer just limited to Facebook but has extended to other media like Whatsapp, Twitter and Instagram.
Any serious contender in this year’s elections knows that social media is a pre-requisite and most have gone overboard to announce their presence online.
Presidential candidates are no exception and their online presence has become conspicuous on different internet platforms with President Emmerson Mnangagwa and MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa leading the pack of 23 candidates.
Had it been the era of Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, time committed to the cyberspace now would have been used solely for physical mobilisation on the ground.