24 November 2012
EDUCATION Minister David Coltart has angrily rejected claims by Zanu PF politburo member Jonathan Moyo that he is a former member of the Selous Scouts.
Moyo, a former Information Minister, has referred to Coltart repeatedly as an ex-member of the Rhodesian special forces unit responsible for unspeakable atrocities during the 1970s independence war.
It is an allegation Moyo made again in a new article published in the state-run Herald newspaper last week as he accused Coltart of irrational criticism of a US$20 million Zanu PF scheme to dole-out farming inputs to some 800,000 farmers, “in typical Rhodie fashion”.
Moyo charged: “Stung by the self-evident policy significance and positive impact of the Presidential agricultural input scheme which is in fact not new as it has been running for years now, Welshman Ncube’s MDC unleashed David Coltart – a former Rhodesian Selous Scout who by his own admission in his own website only started having an interest in human rights and good governance after independence in 1983 – to attempt an impossible task of trashing the scheme.”
But Coltart strongly refutes the charge, accusing Moyo of being “desperate”. The truth, Coltart says, is that he served as a member of the British South Africa Police (BSAP) – the regular police force in colonised Zimbabwe – for two years as part of compulsory national service.
“It is always such a relief to be in Jonathan Moyo’s bad books. Comforting to know one must be doing something right,” he said. “Dear old Jonathan must be desperate – he of all people knows that I was never a Selous Scout but he has to roll that falsehood out again.
“I hope Jonathan will also say I played prop for Rhodesia Rugby – he may as well because it is just as unlikely as me being a Selous Scout!”
Coltart said Moyo was trying hard to attach a stigma to him in a bid to torpedo his political fortunes – but had so far failed.“Jonathan Moyo is viewed by all rational Zimbabweans as an unprincipled political chameleon who cannot be trusted. This allegation [about Selous Scouts] has been made time and time again against me for over 12 years without any damage to either my reputation (such as it is) or political prospects,” Coltart said.
“Indeed in 2002, the allegation was contained in [Robert] Mugabe’s manifesto – something with far more gravitas and spread than Jonathan’s latest article. My election in 2005 and 2008 is proof that the slur hasn’t damaged me politically.”
Coltart said he was hesitant to sue Moyo because he had “an inherent dislike for defamation suits because they can perpetuate, feed and enlarge a
“Jonathan’s statement is so ridiculously false and tainted that I am not going to give it the seriousness is doesn’t deserve by wasting legal fees on an action that will take several years to resolve and which a biased electronic media will latch on to fuel the falsehood”, Coltart said.
“It may seem curiously naive but at the core of my belief system is that the good Lord knows the truth and that is all I have to fear. Jesus was slandered and never had the opportunity to resort to the courts to redeem his reputation, something he didn’t actually care about.”
On Saturday, Moyo was unrepentant when we put Coltart’s denials to him.In an e-mailed response, Moyo said: “It is notable that the intended but hopeless strength of Coltart’s predictable denial is his use of a patently dehumanising term to label me a ‘chameleon’ in the same way Hutus dehumanised their critics in Rwanda as ‘cockroaches’. But of course the use of dehumanising labels is very typical of Rhodies like Coltart to whom blacks have been all sorts of things including ‘kaffirs’, ‘baboons’ and ‘goons’ among a host of dehumanising labels.
“Maybe Coltart would care to tell us whether cockroaches, chameleons, baboons and goons have human rights and if so what they are. Like any Rhodie who served in any organ of the brutal Rhodesian security forces and whose politics today are funded from Europe, America and the White Commonwealth, Coltart is just a fake democrat whose intolerance and hatred of African nationalism and independence is dramatised by the fact that he discovered human rights, the rule of law and good governance only in 1983.
“Otherwise, I maintain that Coltart is a former member of the Rhodesian Selous Scouts. This is not an insult but a description of a historical fact whose devil is in the detail and is based on the public record. Any Rhodie who served any organ of Rhodesian forces was a Selous Scout in letter or spirit or both and so the difference was in detail and not in orientation or purpose. In any case, the Selous Scouts were the lynchpin of the brutal and inhuman Rhodesian security system which Coltart by his own admission served as a BSAP patrol officer, not desk but patrol officer between 1975 and 1977.
“This was a satanic period which was the height of Rhodesian atrocities committed by all Rhodesian security forces without exception including Coltart’s BSAP whose abbreviation was taken to mean ‘Bambo Satan Ari Pano’ by countless Zimbabweans who were brutalised and dehumanised by BSAP patrol officers like Coltart whose number terrorised blacks while on patrol and in interrogation, detention centres and police cells and who were undeniably Selous Scout contacts, link points and informants.
“It is foolish for Coltart to try and give the impression that serving the BSAP in Rhodesia those brutal years between 1975 and 1977 was like serving the International Committee of the Red Cross. And the fact that Colart and others like him have been elected to Parliament despite their sickening Rhodesian history is no recommendation at all but simply dramatises how the political situation in our country has been poisoned and corrupted and why it must and will be corrected come rain or shine and sooner rather than later.”