'Mnangagwa should apologise first for Gukurahundi'

BULAWAYO - It will be prudent for Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa to issue a public apology on his role during the Gukurahundi atrocities if he truly aspires to be the next president of Zimbabwe, ex-Education minister David Coltart has said.

Responding to a question on the VP’s suitability for presidency given his alleged involvement in the 80s atrocities that claimed over 20 000 lives according to rights groups, Coltart said while it was clear that Mnangagwa had not acted as an individual but as part of the government at that time, his clear ambitions for the highest office made it explicitly necessary to come clean on his role.

Apparently advising Mnangagwa to take a cue from him, Coltart, a former member of the racist and brutal Rhodesian police, said as soon as he was voted into a public office in 2000, he renounced his past.

In his recently published book, The Struggle Continues: 50 Years of Tyranny in Zimbabwe, Coltart claims that Mnangagwa, then Security minister, made inflammatory remarks at the height of the Gukurahundi atrocities, which the VP refuted as false.

Mnangagwa subsequently threatened to sue Coltart.

“Should he (Mnangagwa) be condemned for saying those words in 1983? Obviously not,” Coltart said. “If I stand here and say I should have a political future despite the fact that I fought for the Rhodesians, then clearly the vice president should have the ability to stand for the president as well, in respect of what he has done, but the critical thing is this, have I turned my back on the Rhodesian era or do I seek to perpetuate those policies today?” Coltart told journalists at the Bulawayo Press Club.

“I publicly renounced that time.”

“Through this book, I publicly accepted my role in it and on that basis, I want to look forward and that is what I think ... Mnangagwa needs to do.”

The rights lawyer said Mnangagwa should be at ease and walk the nation through his journey during the widely-condemned atrocities as Zimbabweans were incredible natural forgivers.

“He (Mnangagwa) played a role whether any of us like it or not in the very troubling chapter of our history. He played an active role. I think if he wants to seek office, he has got to come public with his role and coach us for what the role he played was.

“The only thing that singles him out is that he wishes to stand for national office, he wants to stand for the highest office in the land.

“There are expectations of that person and that relates to me as well,” he said.

“Certainly, the experience that I have had as a white Zimbabwean is that Zimbabweans share an incredible capacity for forgiveness, an incredible capacity to shut the door and move on,” he said.

“I think all our current actors not just ... Mnangagwa will experience that if they do that and then ironically shore up the positioning for national office or office of that nature.”

Coltart further noted that pretending as if nothing happened during that sad chapter of the Zimbabwean history by anyone who wants to hold the highest office makes one unsuitable.

“But the real danger is that if we simply seek to pretend as if nothing happened and even worse than that if we employ a language and engage in conduct which perpetuates those practices, then people like that are not fit for office,” Coltart said.

He was however, quick to point out that the atrocities cannot be blamed on Mnangagwa alone.

“It was a collective decision and it is to those individuals to learn from those mistakes and move on,” Coltart said.

He added: “Even when I write about Gukurahundi in my book, I write about super Zapu and the destabilising influence of South Africa which exacerbated the situation in Matabeleland,” he said.

“This is part of our history, part of the objective fact of our history. None of us, including those who are mitigating Zanu PF’s approach to Gukurahundi can ignore this, if we are honest.”

Coltart, who was conscripted in the Rhodesian police when he was 17 and left when he was almost 20, however, said it would be unfair of anyone to judge him on the basis of what he did as a young man. He said in his later life, he has been fighting for justice and equality for all.

“There are things that I did then that I would not do now with a wisdom I have with a benefit of hindsight, I am not proud of that, never judge me.”

In reference to the vicious criticism of his book in the State media, accusing him of attempting to whitewash history and hiding the sins he committed when he was in the Rhodesian police, Coltart accused his critics of being dishonest and hypocritical.

Coltart emphasised that his book is an autobiography and thus has his personal perspective on the history of the country, adding that everything he had written was factual and could be independently verified.

“We need to understand that if our nation is going to be a vibrant modern State there cannot have one dimensional view of our history to get this multi-sectoral view and get the truth from all perspectives and learn from it and move on,” he said.

He also challenged his major critics, Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo and shadowy State media columnist Nathaniel Manheru, to write their own books rather than spend time criticising him.

Comments (28)

Did Coltart also come clean on his role as a member of Rhodesian security forces in the late 1970s? Maybe he has forgotten some of us his victims, but he will surely remember his ach-partners E Maigurira, Sibanda (who was killed in battle at Gangare) and Gunda. Remember these, David? Whilst Mnangagwa was part of the government during Gukurahundi, so was Mugabe, so was J Nkomo who at one time was minister of home affairs, and later the dissidents were saying they were fighting for him. Did all these people come clean? Some of those who commanded the army units, police and CIO are alive today. Some of those who commanded the dissidents are known and still alive today. Why then should it be Mnangagwa only? It is Coltart's right to demand public information, but his obsession with Mnangagwa is too glaring, and the justice he thinks should be served to the victims of Gukurahundi cannot be achieved by the confession of one man, who didn't happen to be running the country during the disturbances. All who played a role should tell the nation what they did, including those dissidents the government was fighting.

machakachaka - 17 May 2016

Exactly the same can be said about Mugabe n the rest of Zanu cronies. So why z Mnangagwa pin pointed like dat ? Is z bcoz people c dat he z the next President?

Shaik Gupta Wicknell Yussuf - 17 May 2016

so its only ED who shld come clean? what abt Mugabe? What abt the so called supa Zapu? Enos Nkala was the minister of defence then? Coltart and dailynews(lies) tiudzei mhosva dza ED chaidzo chaidzo. enunciate the role he played rather than being vague and ambiguous. North Korea trained army was under Enos Nkala so tell us paikwana ED. Details plz rather than this generalised reporting and one ED quote from a rally.

Daily Tribal News - 17 May 2016

Coltart a new Jona on the block. KoMugabe uyo anga ari couch anomuzezei ? Mavakugadza Ngwena pahupresident, chinova chigaro chakagarwa nechidhoma, simba racho anoripiwa nani ? Wanyangira yaona: kana Ngwena ikaita apologise mobva mati izwokaizwo, mazwiona, avakuzwigadza humambo kunge shef vakasiya chigaro kare.

Masamba Akareyo - Tanganda - 17 May 2016

The derailed economy is evidence that the ancestors are punishing the Zimbabwean gvt for electing a murderer as a Vice President

The Real Guy - 17 May 2016

@ masamba,the intellectual dwarf,its amazing how yu lambast zanu pf left right and centre and when your tribesman mnangagwa is implicated yu jump to his defence,what is clear from yu is that yu do not want a zim that is democratic and prosp[erous but a zimbabwe that is led by your clansmen,what a pity

jojo - 17 May 2016

Coltart even stood by the people of Matabeleland during that dark hour of the Gukurahundi atrocities or human rights abuses.What Coltart has written is factual history.

Gen Spinola - 17 May 2016

@the real guy;mnangagwa was appointed vp not elected,he lost every election in kwekwe until the shona govt created a new constituency for him

hmmmm - 17 May 2016

It glaringly obvious that Coltart is singling out Mnangagwa. Mugabe is still alive, surely Mugabe should be the one to demand an apology from. The other problem with Coltart, he wants to be the prosecutor, judge and executioner . He Coltart led to investigations, the questions is how come his estimates is such a convenient round number of 20 000 ! The other problem with the like of Coltart is people like me, I shouted down just because we ask questions.

Nesbit - 18 May 2016

this is not a singling out of Mnangagwa, the man has been in either a legal or security ministry since independence so its hard to imagine that these atrocities did not pass by his desk, he know they were going on , he gave input into the planning of these massacres and as such he should apologise to the victims. Its not a matter of whether he could have stopped but rather whether he appreciates that a great wrong was done to the Ndebele people and he participated in it. Vanhu havapori or kuregerera munhu anoda kuvatonga and is still arrogant about their past misdeeds. That being said David should also spread the blam to more than just ED, ko Joice who was also central committee, was the wife of the Gen Mujuru who oversaw the whole army and wants to be president, why isn't she being called to apologise after all her proximity to this issue is as close as Mnangagwa.

B Moyo - 18 May 2016

ghukurahundi denialists must not be allowed to parrot their nonsense on this platform,every interministerial task team has a minister chairing it and mnangagwa was the point man in the disturbances,the disturbances should have never happenned,the mnangagwas responded with disproportinate force,for anyone to seek to down play that dark era or absolve mnangangwa is wrong,rather seek closure and healing so that the nation is not stuck in the past,@nesbit where yu a firth brigade soldier to dispute the 20 000,or yu actually know that yu murder mo than 20 000,@ masamba are yu now mnangagwas defender?let the man respond for himself,he is a qualified lawyer for starters

truth - 18 May 2016

Anyone ever wondered why there seems a dearth of literature on the war in Rhodesia? The main actors (from all sides) are all in denial. They want to appear "clean" when in fact the dirt has refused to come off. That in itself is what has tethered this country to the same brutal past with "facts" changing whimsically depending on where the wind is blowing (and some trying to manufacture the wind). It is difficult for Zim to become a successful giant under such circumstances - we need closure.

Sagitarr - 18 May 2016

There is a need for Coltart to be silent on this issue. He is aware of those that were involved whivch included senior lawyers whom presumably he now trys to cover for. As a former state witness who had personal knowledge of all those senior persons involved none of our current VP's had anything to do with it. Classified. as an anti-government operation funded by psychological warfare in Pretoria, where local lawyers acted as paymasters. Ted Sutton Price, consultant to phychologicakl warefare on Zimbabwe told me personally that itr was a successful operation and confirmed those involved to me, hence my position as state witness. religious individuals killed he described as collateral damage. As Coltart is aware of the background and that it was a terrorist organized affair he should be prosecuted as an accessory to the crime. The whole plot was based on local journalists being anti government thus covering up the real criminals in their haste to write anti government political rubbish in exchange for payments.

John - 18 May 2016

You may not scrap some political mileage by intentionally ignoring reading between the lines of my post. Neither are you doing justice to the victims of gukura. Your mad-bull tactics where by you think shitting on other people`s logical arguments is the right way to redressing the atrocities committed to innocent victims of gukura is counter-productive. You lack the capacity to understand my point of view. I tell you this: there aren`t many whom you will find swinging to your branch without questioning when you bark that so and so should be crucified. Be sober and read my post again; maybe this time you can understand.

Masamba Akareyo - Tanganda - 18 May 2016

@truth. My last post is intended for you. Please read it.

Masamba Akareyo - Tanganda - 18 May 2016

@masamba akareyo,countless times times i have asked yu and yo sidekick @samanyika to get on with debates but it would appear yu have an obsession with attacking me and what i stand for,my blood is zanu pf but when i comment on issues i stick to facts,where i feel i cannot respond i do comment,armchair critics like yourself can continue baseless attacks on zanu,it does not bother me

truth - 18 May 2016

but @truth, on this issue i am watching on the sidelines. take it to @Masamba and finish it off there. yu want to play the priest yet yu peeping under the dresses as well; why??!

SaManyika Chaiye - 18 May 2016

What Coltart is saying is true and sensible. He is not saying Mugabe shouldn't apologise or is not responsible, he is dead and you cant expect an apology from a dead man. As for Mnangwagwa he still has ambitions, let him try to make his ways straight. I don't understand those who say Nkomo ? He was a victim, so he should have apologised? Shame! it shows there are still a lot who are on the same boat as Mugabe. The Catholic Commission published a list of people to be compensated and specific communities that need to heal from the issue of gukurahundi, however the Mugabe government ignored it. He will be buried leaving behind a divided nation

dotiyenja - 19 May 2016

What Coltart is saying is true and sensible. He is not saying Mugabe shouldn't apologise or is not responsible, he is dead and you cant expect an apology from a dead man. As for Mnangwagwa he still has ambitions, let him try to make his ways straight. I don't understand those who say Nkomo ? He was a victim, so he should have apologised? Shame! it shows there are still a lot who are on the same boat as Mugabe. The Catholic Commission published a list of people to be compensated and specific communities that need to heal from the issue of gukurahundi, however the Mugabe government ignored it. He will be buried leaving behind a divided nation

dotiyenja - 19 May 2016

What Coltart is saying is true and sensible. He is not saying Mugabe shouldn't apologise or is not responsible, he is dead and you cant expect an apology from a dead man. As for Mnangwagwa he still has ambitions, let him try to make his ways straight. I don't understand those who say Nkomo ? He was a victim, so he should have apologised? Shame! it shows there are still a lot who are on the same boat as Mugabe. The Catholic Commission published a list of people to be compensated and specific communities that need to heal from the issue of gukurahundi, however the Mugabe government ignored it. He will be buried leaving behind a divided nation

dotiyenja - 19 May 2016

What Coltart is saying is true and sensible. He is not saying Mugabe shouldn't apologise or is not responsible, he is dead and you cant expect an apology from a dead man. As for Mnangwagwa he still has ambitions, let him try to make his ways straight. I don't understand those who say Nkomo ? He was a victim, so he should have apologised? Shame! it shows there are still a lot who are on the same boat as Mugabe. The Catholic Commission published a list of people to be compensated and specific communities that need to heal from the issue of gukurahundi, however the Mugabe government ignored it. He will be buried leaving behind a divided nation

dotiyenja - 19 May 2016

What Coltart is saying is true and sensible. He is not saying Mugabe shouldn't apologise or is not responsible, he is dead and you cant expect an apology from a dead man. As for Mnangwagwa he still has ambitions, let him try to make his ways straight. I don't understand those who say Nkomo ? He was a victim, so he should have apologised? Shame! it shows there are still a lot who are on the same boat as Mugabe. The Catholic Commission published a list of people to be compensated and specific communities that need to heal from the issue of gukurahundi, however the Mugabe government ignored it. He will be buried leaving behind a divided nation

dotiyenja - 19 May 2016

What Coltart is saying is true and sensible. He is not saying Mugabe shouldn't apologise or is not responsible, he is dead and you cant expect an apology from a dead man. As for Mnangwagwa he still has ambitions, let him try to make his ways straight. I don't understand those who say Nkomo ? He was a victim, so he should have apologised? Shame! it shows there are still a lot who are on the same boat as Mugabe. The Catholic Commission published a list of people to be compensated and specific communities that need to heal from the issue of gukurahundi, however the Mugabe government ignored it. He will be buried leaving behind a divided nation

dotiyenja - 19 May 2016

What Coltart is saying is true and sensible. He is not saying Mugabe shouldn't apologise or is not responsible, he is dead and you cant expect an apology from a dead man. As for Mnangwagwa he still has ambitions, let him try to make his ways straight. I don't understand those who say Nkomo ? He was a victim, so he should have apologised? Shame! it shows there are still a lot who are on the same boat as Mugabe. The Catholic Commission published a list of people to be compensated and specific communities that need to heal from the issue of gukurahundi, however the Mugabe government ignored it. He will be buried leaving behind a divided nation

dotiyenja - 19 May 2016

What Coltart is saying is true and sensible. He is not saying Mugabe shouldn't apologise or is not responsible, he is dead and you cant expect an apology from a dead man. As for Mnangwagwa he still has ambitions, let him try to make his ways straight. I don't understand those who say Nkomo ? He was a victim, so he should have apologised? Shame! it shows there are still a lot who are on the same boat as Mugabe. The Catholic Commission published a list of people to be compensated and specific communities that need to heal from the issue of gukurahundi, however the Mugabe government ignored it. He will be buried leaving behind a divided nation

dotiyenja - 19 May 2016

What Coltart is saying is true and sensible. He is not saying Mugabe shouldn't apologise or is not responsible, he is dead and you cant expect an apology from a dead man. As for Mnangwagwa he still has ambitions, let him try to make his ways straight. I don't understand those who say Nkomo ? He was a victim, so he should have apologised? Shame! it shows there are still a lot who are on the same boat as Mugabe. The Catholic Commission published a list of people to be compensated and specific communities that need to heal from the issue of gukurahundi, however the Mugabe government ignored it. He will be buried leaving behind a divided nation

dotiyenja - 19 May 2016

It was an open secret then that Zanu was using the 5th brigade to wipe out Ndebele people under the pretext of a dissident crackdown, why did they not confront these dissidents and fight them instead of killing innocent civilians.Mugabe has always been a tribalist who is vicious and power hungry now that today he is gone we want justice, we want justice for our butchered parents and God will give it to us either way. and Shona peploe you cannot ignore your blind tainted Zanu leaders when there are dancing on top of the graves of their victims just as their 5th brigade literaly killed innocent people and made others dance pro Mugabe propaganda on top of the graves. we will never forget God will punish all you slowly but surely

keith - 23 November 2017

@ Masamba akareyo. What are you saying does the invlovement of pretoria absolve those who pulled the trigger under the Mugabe moment of madness, I know all these facts and do not speak from a pedestal you exposing your baffoonery that you intend to be flattering.We are speaking about victims who were killed by a ruthless dictator and his inner circle yet you come here to basically defend them from being persecuted, if you do not have a healthy dose of lunacy you straight out mad!!. your Zanu is dead now that your master with a third degree in the dark arts of politics is out of power, the tribalistic, racist dictator who has been killed off by his hunger for power.where is the head of the snake he wanted to crush? I am the son of an unsung liberation hero who lies on an unmarked grave because odf tribal purging when the ZDF was integrated with liberation movements. Zanu is a tribal political party that killed the Zapu political base, after that then said lets unite, what unity is that. So you can go to where you come from with your trivializing theatrics. All along politics in Zim have been an ethnic consensus we are sick of your Zanu people you have divided a nation then you *** on our wounds

keith - 23 November 2017

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