- Published: 05 July 2014
- Written by The Zimbabwe Mail
Information, Media and Broadcasting Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo is believed to be the writer on an article published by the Bulawayo-based State newspaper The Chronicle taking a dig at former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr Gideon Gono.
The article says: "Gono could be charged with contempt of court for publicly claiming that he had evidence about the Facebook character Baba Jukwa when the matter is before the courts."
Dr Gono claimed in a daily paper on Tuesday that he had been conducting his own investigations and had gathered evidence about Baba Jukwa and Amai Jukwa.
The paper which is edited by Professor Moyo's loyalist Mduduzi Mathuthu went on to say: "Legal practitioners said Dr Gono could be charged for making public statements about a case that was before the courts."
Mathuthu himself has written personal articles on Baba Jukwa in the media and running commentaries on Social-networks.
"The matter is sub-judice in terms of the criminal trial of the Sunday Mail editor (Edmund Kudzayi)," said Terrence Hussein of Hussein who has represented Moyo in many court cases.
"It would be wrong for him (Dr Gono) to have a parallel expose of the whole matter because only the courts now will be seized with the matter. If he has such fantastic evidence as he claims, he needs to assist the police by providing evidence. But this is also double-edged because he must be prepared to stand up and defend that evidence in court and in particular tell the court where and how he obtained the evidence."
Wellington Pasi of Manase and Manase said while the constitution gave every citizen a right to freedom of expression, it was important for them to know that their duty lied with the state.
"So, if you have any information in the interest of the state then you are duty-bound to the fullest extent of such knowledge that you possess to give it to the state," he said.
"It would now be improper for one to brag in the media that they have evidence, but do not involve the police who are the first port of call in all criminal investigations in Zimbabwe.
"The risk is that when it is discovered that he was hiding or preventing information he will be charged with seeking to defeat the course of justice because he is withholding vital information which has the potential to bring this case to rest."
Another lawyer who requested anonymity said: "He is getting himself in a fix by claiming to know better than those involved in the case.
I don't understand why he is being a megaphone on issues that have a potential to get him in trouble. This Baba Jukwa case is sensitive, so for him to come out and make such revelations will surely excite those who are investigating the case to request that evidence. The court could actually charge him for contempt because they are seized with this matter."
Police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said they would not comment on issues before the courts. "The Baba Jukwa case is pending before the courts and its sub-judice for police to comment," she said.
Contacted for comment on why he was commenting on matters before the courts and holding vital information to himself when the police were already dealing with the matter which is before the courts, Dr Gono declined to comment.
Edmund and his brother Phillip are accused of attempting to subvert a constitutionally-elected government and undermining the President's authority.
He allegedly went on to create the Baba Jukwa Facebook account.
The police are looking for several other people residing in differrent parts of the world linked to the Facebook character which thrived on character assassination and causing alarm and despondency among citizens.
Moyo is involved in low intensity battled with the former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono and recently he criticised him for confiding in President Robert Mugabe that he had been blacklisted in the public media, saying that Gono owned a newspaper and was at liberty to use it if he wanted maximum media coverage.
Gono reportedly complained to Mugabe when the veteran leader toured his New Donnington Farm in Norton, resulting in the veteran Zanu PF leader issuing a stern warning on those allegedly imposing a blackout on his personal banker.
Addressing panellists at the inaugural meeting of the Independent Media Panel of Inquiry (IMPI) in Harare, Moyo said he was shocked that "his friend" had backstabbed him by making unsubstantiated claims that he had been blacklisted by the Information ministry-controlled media.
Moyo challenged Gono to prove the claims and threatened to expose him for "lying" to Mugabe.
"They say some people are on the blacklist and the blacklist comes from the ministry. Why should we have a blacklist as if it's a credit facility?" Moyo quipped.
"I was shocked when my good friend, the former governor (Gono) suggested there are people who don't want him covered. He told the President something to that effect.
"If the one who is alleging it is lying, the media should tell that person he was lying . . . In jest, I thought he can't say that because he has his own newspaper, why not go to that newspaper?"
Gono is believed to be the majority shareholder at The Financial Gazette.