Mugabe Threatens To Behead Gay Citizens … but also faces open criticism from Baba Jukwa

Robert Mugabe campaigningRobert Mugabe, the self-appointed president of Zimbabwe has threatened to behead Citizens for the “crime” of being gay. The HuffPo reports

Speaking on Tuesday at a rally at the Aerodrome Grounds in Mutare, Mugabe described LGBT people as “worse than pigs, goats and birds” and threatened to behead them, according to NewsDay.

“If you take men and lock them in a house for five years and tell them to come up with two children and they fail to do that, then we will chop off their heads. This thing (homosexuality) seeks to destroy our lineage by saying John and John should wed, Maria and Maria should wed… Obama says if you want aid, you should accept the homosexuality practice… We will never do that.”

The context for all this is that there is an election coming up next Wednesday when he will go head-to-head in a reply for power with Morgan Tsvangirai, and so he as usual is cranking up the rhetoric.

This time it may be different

The Internet has arrived and is threatening to disrupt things. Last March, a self-proclaimed disaffected insider of the ruling Zanu-PF party created the Facebook page of “Baba Jukwa”. There is where all the action is, he has been writing about the details of high-level party meetings, allegations of voter fraud, and embarrassing gossip – all replete with private phone numbers for people to harass the officials in question. The Guardian reports

Last month he declared that top officials were “planning to sink Edward Chindori Chininga and replace him with their puppet”. Chininga, an MP who had released a damning report oncorruption in the country’s diamond mines, died nine days later in a suspicious car accident.

“Heartless maggots”, raged Baba Jukwa the next day. “The politics of killing each other in my party, as I always told you, will intensify … I am going to expose my party worse so that they will know that killing other people is wrong.”

He is rather popular, I can see 289,146 likes on his page as I write this, but as you might imagine, Mr Mugabe is not one of those that clicked “like”, he has apparently offered a six-figure sum for the identity of this page.

With the election nexr, Baba Jukwa has mounted a call for voter registration and turnout in order to oust his own party at the ballot box. Asijiki! (Do not retreat!) is his signature sign-off. Will this really have an impact? Much as I might like to think so, I suspect not, because Mugabe has so impoverished what was once a rather successful nation, that the Internet has not really arrived yet. There is still a climate of fear …

Ndashaishei Ndashaishei (a pseudonym), a 35-year-old development researcher in Mutare, reads Baba Jukwa’s page every day. “I cherish the many different views and comments that follow the posts”, he says. But while he sometimes discusses them in private with trusted colleagues, he says that these conversations are “limited to people within your circle, people who one really knows. You cannot do that in public places because you do not know whether the person next to you is a secret agent informer or not”, he says.

The inevitable end is of course coming, Mugabe is 89, and so I would not envisage too much more of his one-man one vote democratic farce where he is essentially the one man who gets the one available vote …

… and yet, Baba Jukwa is indeed a good start, for here we now have a voice of dissent and open criticism that cannot be silenced and so those with access to a mobile are encouraged to be a bit bolder, a bit less afraid, and a bit more hopeful that better days are ahead.

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