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Zimbabwe Arrests Journalist

Zimbabwe police have arrested the editor of a state-owned weekly, a development that has left the country’s union of journalists doubting the sincerity of government promises to repeal harsh media laws.

The state-owned daily The Herald - the sister publication of The Sunday Mail - reported Thursday police ransacked the offices of Sunday Mail editor Edmund Kudzayi.

Sources at the media house said Kudzayi had been alerted of the pending arrival of the police and left his offices. He was later arrested in town at an undisclosed location.

“We are absolutely baffled by the fact that the Zimbabwean government has cracked down on the journalists in the state controlled media," said Zimbabwe Union of Journalists Secretary-General Foster Dongozi. "We are worried that the current actions by the Zimbabwean government could be a harbinger of the worst things to happen. We call on the government of President Mugabe to ensure the safety of all journalists.”

Two weeks ago Mugabe accused Information Minister Jonathan Moyo of appointing former critics of his ZANU-PF party to lead state-owned media houses.

Kudzayi was based in the United Kingdom before last year’s elections. Together with Mduduzi Mathuthu - who now edits a sister paper of the Sunday Mail called Chronicle - Kudzayi used to run an online newspapers critical of Mugabe’s policies.

Police confirmed reports of break-ins at Mathuthu’s residence. Police also said they visited offices of The Zimbabwe Independent looking for its editor Dumisani Muleya.

They refused to disclose in what connection Mulaye and Kudzayi were wanted.