Gukurahundi, Nyadzonya and the David Coltart apology

Gukurahundi, Nyadzonya and the David Coltart apology
Published: 02 February 2018 (464 Views)
Its sixty days since the inauguration of Emmerson Mnangagwa as the president of the Republic of Zimbabwe on the 24th of November 2017. In his inauguration speech, he promised visible changes within the first hundred days.  Its been sixty days, let us look at the issues and the progress thus far.

It is interesting to note that the political culture in Zimbabwe and indeed in the diaspora towards our politics has changed. In fact, an online poll pitting Emmerson Mnangagwa against Morgan Tsvangirai saw a reversal of fortune for the previously popular Tsvangirai in the diaspora.

It is, however, disheartening to note that the opposition has now resorted to gutter politics in their quest to remain relevant in a political environment that is increasingly rendering them irrelevant.

The Gukurahundi question at Davos

Over the last few weeks, Emmerson Mnangagwa has been scoring quite well in the diplomatic offensive to put Zimbabwe back on the global map and domestically to get Zimbabwe working again. At the Davos meeting, Emmerson Mnangagwa was asked by BBC interviewer Mishal Husain the Gukurahundi question and if he would apologise for it. He answered it well.

He confirmed his role as State security minister and that he did not trivialise the issue but that he wants Zimbabwe to learn from it as we move forward. He has put in place enabling legislation, the National Peace and Reconciliation Act to allow this issue to be investigated and his government will stand guided by its recommendations. It is on the backdrop of this development that we must look at the David Coltart apology.

The David Coltart Apology

In a statement posted on social media entitled, 'My Statement regarding Rhodesian atrocities, my time in the BSAP and an apology, David Coltart, attempts to sanitise his role in the murderous Ian Smith regime. He does this by downplaying his role as a police officer in the BSAP (British Southern African Police) by taking responsibility for only throwing the 'dead body of a guerrilla down a mineshaft'. His explanation for how this 'guerrilla' died, is gunfire exchange between 'Rhodesian forces' and the guerrillas. A bit difficult to believe, here is why.

He is at pains to distance himself from the actual conflict between the Rhodesians forces and the Guerrillas. He was merely a junior police officer for two years he says. Is it not strange that a junior police officer would be tasked with disposing of a dead body down a mineshaft if you were not part of the murderous unit? I find that very hard to believe.

In his statement he makes reference to his book, in which he condemns the atrocities committed by the Rhodesian regime, the Nyadzonya massacre, he confidently states authoritatively in his statement, the body count of that massacre was about 1028 men. This is not true.

A simple research online will tell you that based on documents made available to the United Nations, 31000 Zimbabweans were killed by Rhodesian Selous scouts through the systematic use of chemical and biological warfare though international conventions on armed conflict prohibited their use. Now, if David was not a politician he may have got away with that rudimentary apology based on the distortion of history. There is a common saying, 'those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones'

David Coltart's apology is tied to his political ambitions. It is a poor attempt to upstage Emmerson Mnangagwa by being 'the first' to apologise for perceived atrocities. The truth of the matter is David Coltart is indeed a war criminal who has distorted the body count of the Nyadzonya massacre by the Rhodesian forces to sanitise his political ambitions.

This kind of creative rewriting of our history must be condemned by all right-thinking Zimbabweans. The indigenous people, those affected by these atrocities need to write their history correctly and pass it down to our children. It is foolhardy to think that people like David Coltart, a man who was part of that Rhodesian institution of repression and murder should tell us what truly transpired. We have a similar challenge with regard to Gukurahundi.

Gukurahundi question

The Gukurahundi issue must be understood in the context of a political conflict between the two leaders of  Zapu and Zanu in post liberation war politics. The differences between Nkomo and Mugabe after Lancaster were the catalyst to the conflict that followed. I will talk about the details of that conflict another day, suffice to say the ensuing conflict was a dark period in the history of Zimbabwe.

I will focus on the political solution. It is instructive to note that the unity accord was the political solution to the conflict as represented by Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo. They both sat down and realised that it was the Zimbabwean citizen in the Midlands and Matabeleland that was being affected by their political difference.

The two-vice president arrangement in the constitution is symbolic of this solution. The downside to this political solution was that it failed to deal with the actual victims of the conflict on both sides of the conflict. The National Peace and reconciliation act signed in into law by president Emmerson Mnangagwa to deal with this aspect of the conflict will go a long way.

The National Peace and Reconciliation Act

Within the first 30 days of his tenure, president Emmerson Mnangagwa assented to the National Peace and reconciliation bill. Its terms of reference include the Gukurahundi conflict with a view to bringing closure to the matter. It would also be in the national interest for the inquiry which falls under one of the vice president's office be given a wider mandate to cover pre-independence conflicts that include but not limited to the Chimoio and Nyadzonya massacres.

It would be a tragedy if we don't have an all-inclusive inquiry with the broad mandate to hear evidence from the likes of David Coltart with regard to the 'real' role they played in the human rights violations of the Smith regime. A comprehensive all-inclusive investigation in all the atrocities will bring about the envisaged national peace and reconciliation.


In our sincerity as Zimbabweans, we need to find a better way to compete politically. The tragic situation we find ourselves in, we use sad and conflicted events in our history for political mileage. This will only have one outcome -conflict. The people of Zimbabwe are aware of the real body counts in our history of conflict, be it be Chimoio, Nyadzonya and Gukurahundi.

And until we truly know and document what really transpired at Nyadzonya, Chimoio and Gukurahundi from our own Zimbabwean perspective, the victim perspective through information gathered by our own people, not international proxies, former Rhodesian Selous scouts or NGO's who generally will have an agenda for their investigation. They will sanitise their own murderous role in these conflicts whilst amplifying the negative things done by others, Zimbabwe will not know peace.

- Nehanda Radio


You May Like These Videos


There are no comments.

Latest stories

Ex-Military government officials angered by public scrutiny

by Alistair Nyakudya | 19 February 2019 | 15 Views

Mnangagwa's 'CIO son' cons church-mate

by newzimbabwe | 19 February 2019 | 14 Views

'Government does not own Zimpapers'

by Mandla Ndlovu | 19 February 2019 | 9 Views

Mangudya considering devaluing Zimbabwe bond notes

by Bloomberg | 19 February 2019 | 20 Views

Zimbabwe tourism earnings surpass $1 billion

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 51 Views

TinTin suffers mental illness scare

by Mandla Ndlovu | 19 February 2019 | 78 Views

Letter to my friends in the MDC Alliance

by Nkosilathi Emmanuel Moyo, Sr | 19 February 2019 | 65 Views

'ZANU PF will be dead in 2028' says Jonathan Moyo

by Mandla Ndlovu | 19 February 2019 | 72 Views

PHOTOS: Top ZANU PF leader's body arrives

by Mandla Ndlovu | 19 February 2019 | 92 Views

Zimnat invites entries for Sanlam financial journalism award

by Staff writer | 19 February 2019 | 73 Views

MDC Bulawayo endorses Chamisa for Presidency

by Mandla Ndlovu | 19 February 2019 | 125 Views

Jonathan Moyo imposter calls Chamisa a biblical Moses.

by Mandla Ndlovu | 19 February 2019 | 171 Views

Chamisa, Mnangagwa MPs set tone for dialogue

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 166 Views

Former minister's children fight over estate

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 149 Views

$7bn needed for cleaner energy in Zimbabwe

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 74 Views

Man steal 'funeral' meat

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 116 Views

5 'Zacc officials' in trouble

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 105 Views

African Union and Sadc are spineless

by Pearl Matibe | 19 February 2019 | 90 Views

Serial burglar jailed 48 months

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 83 Views

Mliswa escalates fight against Nduna

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 114 Views

MDC legislator fumes over 'partisan distribution' of agric inputs

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 79 Views

Jailed robbers face fresh charges

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 78 Views

Zimbabwe inflation seen slowing down in October

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 74 Views

MDC councillor in court over violence

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 74 Views

Zimbabwean actor lands role in UK series

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 73 Views

SA civic groups blast Sadc over Zimbabwe rights violations

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 85 Views

Bulawayo extends water-rationing to 72hrs

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 68 Views

MDC chair denied access to detained party members

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 75 Views

Ginimbi's club Sankayi to shut down

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 69 Views

Tollgate scandal rocks Zinara

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 73 Views

Chamisa, Mnangagwa trade barbs

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 47 Views

'China has confidence in Mnangagwa'

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 42 Views

Matebeleland chiefs escalates their row with Mnangagwa

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 51 Views

Mnangagwa purges Chiwenga top allies

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 47 Views

Chamisa will not be challenged at the elective congress

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 38 Views

Mnangagnwa dismisses fake reports on tracking doctors and lawyers

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 120 Views