Zimbabwe police arrest editor of state-run newspaper

HARARE, June 20 Fri Jun 20, 2014 4:57am EDT

HARARE, June 20 (Reuters) - Zimbabwean police have arrested the editor of a state-owned newspaper, its publisher said on Friday, a week after President Robert Mugabe accused his information minister for hiring journalists sympathetic to the opposition.

Zimbabwe routinely arrests editors from the private media under tough security and media laws, but no journalist working for a government controlled paper has been affected in the last decade.

Police on Thursday arrested Edmund Kudzayi, who was appointed editor of the weekly Sunday Mail in April, Zimbabwe Newspapers, the holding company for state-owned papers said in a statement.

The company said police had confiscated computers from Kudzayi's office but did not state the reason for his arrest.

Mugabe last week branded information minister Jonathan Moyo a "devil incarnate", accusing him of using government-controlled newspapers to sow divisions within the ruling ZANU-PF party.

Police spokeswoman Charity Charamba could not be reached for comment on Friday, but the state Herald newspaper said the arrest was linked to previous publications by Kudzayi.

Zimbabwe's private media outlets say an intense battle within ZANU-PF on who will succeed the 90-year-old Mugabe has sucked in the state-owned press.

Deputy President Joice Mujuru and Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangangwa have emerged as the front runners, but Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980, says the contest is open to all party leaders. (Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by Stella Mapenzauswa)