June 20 (Bloomberg) -- Zimbabwean police arrested the editor of a government-controlled newspaper two weeks after President Robert Mugabe accused the country’s information minister of using state media to sow division in the ruling party.
Edmund Kudzai, editor of the Sunday Mail, was arrested yesterday, Charity Charamba, a police spokeswoman, said by phone, declining to say what charges he may face. Equipment was removed from Kudzai’s office in Harare, the capital. Pikiriyai Deketeke, the editor in chief of Zimbabwe Newspapers (1980) Ltd., which owns the Sunday Mail, said police searched Kudzai’s home and office before seizing computer equipment.
Kudzai was appointed by Information Minister Jonathan Moyo after Mugabe extended his more than three decades in power in an election last year. On June 7 the state-controlled Herald newspaper cited the 90-year-old leader as saying Moyo was using state media to “put people against one another.” Later that day, speaking at the funeral of a party official, he said his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front would be cleansed of “weevils.”
While Zanu-PF won two-thirds of the seats in parliament in last year’s election, allowing it to end a four-year coalition with the Movement for Democratic Change, plunging consumer demand, company closures and deflation has slowed economic growth and spurred infighting within the party.
Zanu-PF’s secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa, told party members at the same event that Mugabe spoke at to use Gamatox, a deadly poison used to kill grain-destroying insects, to rid the party of “weevils.”
Five calls to Joseph Mandizha, Kudzai’s lawyer, weren’t answered.
Kudzai previously ran the African Aristocrat website blog,which carried a 2010 report saying President Robert Mugabe’s daughter, Bona, had been raped in Tanzania. Mugabe’s family denied his daughter had been raped.
The Sunday Mail reported Kudzai’s arrest and said the house of the editor of its sister paper, the Bulawayo-based Chronicle, was broken into yesterday.
Zimbabwe’s government owns a controlling stake in Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed Zimbabwe Newspapers, known as Zimpapers. The company’s main newspapers include the Sunday Mail, the Herald, the Chronicle and Kwayedza, a tabloid written in the local Shona language. Old Mutual Plc owns a 10 percent stake.
Police in Harare yesterday also sought Dumisani Muleya, editor of the Zimbabwe Independent, a weekly newspaper owned by Alpha Media Holdings (Pvt) Ltd., Edith Kayinga, AMH’s human capital general manager, said by phone.
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