File picture: NS Newsflash,

Harare - Zimbabwe police on Thursday arrested the editor of a state-owned newspaper, a colleague said, highlighting bitter rivalries within the ruling party.

Edmund Kudzayi, editor of the Sunday Mail, was “arrested this morning and police searched his office taking away electrical gadgets that include a laptop,” an official at the paper told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Police were not available for comment.

Kudzayi was appointed editor of the paper two months ago but has incurred the wrath of the long-ruling President Robert Mugabe.

Earlier this month, Mugabe accused his information minister, Jonathan Moyo, of using his influence over the state media to attack rivals within the ruling ZANU-PF party, which is riven by divisions over who should succeed the ageing president.

Moyo has fallen in and out of favour with Mugabe since first becoming information minister in 2002. He was sacked in 2005 after being linked to a clandestine meeting held to discuss Mugabe's succession.

Since his recent re-appointment, Moyo has overseen the hiring of new editors at state newspapers and suspended the head of the state broadcaster.

The Zimbabwe Union for Journalist secretary general Foster Dongozi condemned the arrest of Kudzayi.

“ZUJ calls on the government to immediately reveal the reasons for detaining Kudzayi and why Muleya is being hunted,” Dongozi said in a statement.

“We condemn the use of fear as a weapon to cow journalists.”

Police are also reportedly looking for the editor of the weekly Zimbabwe Independent newspaper, Dumisani Muleya, a manager at the newspaper group said.

“Three detectives came to our offices asking for Muleya. They also wanted his mobile number and home address. I could not grant that request,” Edith Kayinga, general manager at Alpha Media Holdings told the South African Mail and Guardian.