Police storm Herald house

HARARE - Police yesterday raided Herald House looking for the Sunday Mail editor, Edmund Kudzayi, in an unprecedented move which left journalists and executives at the State-controlled Zimpapers stable shell-shocked.

He was not at the office at the time of the raid but was reportedly later arrested at his lawyer’s offices.

The storming of the heartbeat of the State-propaganda  apparatus by police occurred almost simultaneously as they also visited the offices of the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper, looking for its editor Dumisani Muleya — and as the residence of editor of the Chronicle, Mduduzi Mathuthu, was broken into under suspicious circumstances.

The surprise turn of events comes as factionalism worsens in Zanu PF and follows on President Robert Mugabe’s recent scathing attack on Information minister Jonathan Moyo, whom the 90-year old described as a “weevil” and “devil incarnate” — further accusing him of causing divisions in Zanu PF.

Perhaps even more tellingly, Mugabe has accused Moyo of appointing journalists to the editorship of State newspapers who were allegedly sympathetic to the opposition.

Police spokesperson Charity Charamba was not available for comment yesterday to clarify what charges Kudzayi was facing.

Zimpapers’ group editor-in-chief, Pikirayi Deketeke, issued a statement yesterday confirming the raid and arrest.

“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.

“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 are a law abiding organisation and have, will and shall continue to co-operate with the law enforcement agencies.”

Kudzayi’s lawyer Joseph Mandizha also confirmed the arrest in an interview with the Daily News last night, but claimed he was not aware of the charges that were being preferred against his client.

“I am unable to talk right now, I am just getting into CID Law and Order,” he told the Daily News.

Zimpapers bosses also confirmed last night that Kudzayi had been arrested, adding that the assistant editor of The Herald, Mabasa Sasa, would temporarily take over at the Sunday Mail, pending the outcome of Kudzayi’s case.

In the other incident involving another Zimpapers editor, Mathuthu, the Chronicle boss had his house ransacked by “burglars”.

Although Mathuthu said on his twitter account that the motive of the break-in appeared to be robbery, as various items, including clothes and a television set, were stolen, the developments in Harare have raised suspicion about the break-in.

Meanwhile, Moyo — also described by Mugabe as a “counter revolutionary” for appointing “unpatriotic” editors at Zimpapers — attended a politburo meeting in Harare yesterday, which was chaired by Mugabe.

It was not known at the time of going to Press whether the raid on Zimpapers was discussed at the meeting.

Mugabe, in his speeches at the funeral and burial of Nathan Shamuyarira, described Moyo as divisive and “the devil incarnate” who had sacked hardworking and loyal editors at Zimpapers.

“You have our minister of Information wanting to put people one against another.

“Don’t make anyone in the party a political enemy. You may differ with others in the party, but that should not make you want to attack them in the paper. It’s destructive ideology.

“We now have weevils in our midst. Zanu PF has weevils within its ranks,” Mugabe charged.

Kudzayi, who has no traceable journalistic experience in the mainstream media, was appointed to head the Sunday Mail in April much to the chagrin of some Zanu PF heavyweights and seasoned scribes at Zimpapers.

Following his appointment in April, the State media described Kudzayi as “a media consultant with a strong technical background in software development and digital media.”

Kudzayi was linked to the online news website The African Aristocrat which in 2010 published stories about the first family’s personal lives. Kudzayi was also linked to the Amai Jukwa Facebook Page while some Australian hackers also claimed that they had evidence he was Baba Jukwa.

The Zimbabwe National Editors Forum (Zinef) said yesterday that it was gravely concerned by the arbitrary search by the police for the three editors without explaining the circumstances under which the search was being conducted.

“Zinef is concerned about the welfare of the editors, and we call upon the law enforcement agency to protect them and not to hunt them,” said Brian Mangwende, the forum chairperson.

Comments (5)

if the Zanupf government could use the same macho man approach in tackling corruption and its perpetrators, surely zim could have been a different place altogether.

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