Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
The Sunday Mail editor Edmund Kudzayi was arrested last night after a police swoop at his home and his office at Herald House, with the police saying the arrest had something to do “with publications that he did”.
Police also visited The Zimbabwe Independent offices in the morning looking for the editor of the paper Dumisani Muleya’s home address.
Police said Kudzayi was arrested in connection with some articles he allegedly published, while they were also on the hunt for Muleya on charges that could not be ascertained.
Police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba confirmed the arrest, saying Kudzayi was picked up by the police at his lawyers’ offices.
The arrest came after the police visited his home and offices early in the morning where they confiscated his tools of the trade.
“They (police) found him at his lawyers (offices) a few moments ago and arrested him,” Snr Asst Comm Charamba said last night.
“The charges are to do with the publications that he did. He is at the Law and Order Section.”
Snr Asst Comm Charamba could not ascertain if Kudzayi was arrested for articles he published before or after joining Zimpapers.
A spokesperson for Zimpapers advised stakeholders of the investigations on Kudzayi.
“Zimbabwe Newspapers (1980) Limited wishes to advise its stakeholders that there are current investigations by the Zimbabwe law enforcement agencies involving the Sunday Mail Editor, Edmund Kudzayi.
“In furtherance to the above, the agencies visited his home and office early yesterday morning, June 19, 2014 during his absence.
‘’The agencies carried a number of electronic gadgets including iPads from his office and did not state the reason for such. Edmund Kudzayi was also summoned to the police in absentia and did not report for duty. Edmund Kudzayi was arrested later in the day. By late last night Zimpapers had not yet ascertained the exact details of the charges,’’ reads the statement by the spokesperson.
Chronicle editor Mduduzi Mathuthu also had his house broken into early yesterday morning and had a television set, clothes and food stuffs stolen.
“There was an unlawful entry at Mduduzi’s home and theft between 1am and 5am today (yesterday),” said Snr Asst Comm Charamba. “Vusumuzi Mathuthu, elder brother to Mduduzi, reported the case at Queenspark Police Station in Bulawayo and investigations are under way.”
Snr Asst Comm Charamba and Zimpapers said Mduduzi’s case was not related to that of Kudzayi.
“That is purely an unlawful entry,” said Snr Asst Comm Charamba.
“Why would the police break into someone’s house to steal? They (police) have indicated that they were only looking for Kudzayi and they have nothing to do with what happened at Mduduzi’s house.”
The Zimpapers spokesperson concurred: “On another note, the editor of the Chronicle, Mduduzi Mathuthu’s property was stolen on the same night. We as Zimpapers are of the view that the above incidents are not related.
“We wish to advise our readers and stakeholders that Zimpapers as an organisation is a law abiding organisation and have, will and shall continue to co-operate with the law enforcement agencies.”
Mathuthu said in a statement that he woke up at 5am and found the doors to his kitchen and living room wide open.
“It soon became clear that someone had broken in and stolen several items, including a TV set and odd things like meat from the fridge and Mazoe from a cupboard in the kitchen. They also uprooted some vegetables outside,” he said.
“My home in Mahatshula North is guarded by a security guard at night, but he said he was reading a newspaper and heard nothing. Ordinarily, we can tell when someone is walking outside because of the gravel, but none of the people in the house at the time – there were six adults including myself – heard anything.
“We also found several stones around the house, I’m not sure what their relevance is, but police said they are usually used by thieves to attack people if they walk in on them while in the act.
“Police have been here to investigate and the crime is reported under Reference Number RRB 1946934.”
Snr Asst Comm Charamba said the police were also looking for Muleya though she had not been briefed of the charges.
Zimbabwe Independent publisher Rita Chinyoka said she was yet to be briefed about the incident.
Muleya was quoted in some sections of the media yesterday as saying he would not turn himself in until the police reveal why they were looking for him.
“I understand from colleagues at work that the police officers, when asked why they wanted to see me, said ‘it’s business’. I’ve no business with the police, and until they state specifically why they want me, I will not be turning myself in.”
The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists condemned the police raids at Zimpapers and Alpha Media Holdings, saying they were akin to harassment of journalists.
“The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, ZUJ, is deeply concerned and appalled by the apparently coordinated harassment of journalists in Bulawayo and Harare this morning (yesterday) and would like to urge the Zimbabwean authorities to guarantee their safety and protection,” ZUJ said.
“ZUJ calls on the government to immediately reveal the reasons for detaining Kudzayi and why Muleya is being hunted. We also demand assurances that the burglary at Mathuthu’s house had nothing to do with the unfortunate developments taking place.”