Sunday Mail editor Kudzayi gets his passport back

HARARE Magistrate Tendai Mahwe Friday granted Sunday Mail editor, Edmund Kudzayi, whom authorities claim was behind the Facebook character, Baba Jukwa, permission to claim his passport from the clerk of court.

Edmund Kudzayi
Edmund Kudzayi

Kudzayi, through his lawyer, Admire Rubaya, had filed an application stating there was an urgent need for it.

Kudzayi was released from custody on $5 000 bail and stringent conditions by the High Court last year and was due to appear again in court on the 29th of this month.

In his application, Kudzayi stated that his employer, ZIMPAPERS had requested that he attends a newspaper congress to be held in the United States of America on June 3 this year.

“The passport had since expired; my client wants to apply for a new passport and cannot do this without the old passport. He also wants to attend to VISA issues,” said Rubaya.

The court heard the Prosecutor General’s office and also Senior Public Prosecutor, Tawanda Zvekare had consented.

Rubaya said they would also apply for a new trial date as Kudzayi will not be around on the date he was due to appear in court.

The conditions are still that he reports twice a day at Harare Central Police Station and stays within a 40km radius of the capital.

Kudzayi, who authorities claim was behind the Facebook character Baba Jukwa, was arrested in May last year and was charged with attempting to subvert a constitutionally-elected government and undermining the President’s authority.

The charges against him include calling Mugabe a tyrant and dictator, and alleging that the president stole an election. These remarks were allegedly made in 2008 prior to him joining the state media in 2014.

Kudzayi is also facing charges of creating a Facebook account in the name of Baba Jukwa, who had a cult following for his claims to expose secrets of the Mugabe government.

The Facebook account became a hit, apparently for dishing dirt on the inner workings of Mugabe's Zanu PF party.

Baba Jukwa accused Mugabe of rigging the vote and published cell phone numbers of prominent figures in government, asking people to call them and tell them "we know what is going on".

Kudzayi also faces another charge of keeping ammunition in an unsafe place. Mahwe ordered Kudzayi to hand back the passport on June 10.

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