Coltart says sorry: Rhodesia era cop apologises for atrocities against Africans

Senator David Coltart

Senator David Coltart

Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter
FORMER Education Minister Senator David Coltart has lauded President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Government following the passing of the National Peace and Reconciliation Act, saying it was a step in the right direction.

In a statement he posted on his page on micro-blogging site, twitter on Friday, Sen Coltart also apologised for the atrocities by the Rhodesian Government during the time he was a police officer. His remarks follow President Mnangagwa’s revelation in Davos, Switzerland, last week that he had signed the National Peace and Reconciliation Bill into law to, among other issues, tackle the emotive Gukurahundi issue.

Vice-President Kembo Mohadi heads the Organ on National Peace and Reconciliation.

“I commend the passing of the National Peace and Reconciliation Act as a positive step in the right direction and call on Government to ensure that it has the independence, resources and cooperation it needs to be able to expose the truth and begin the long, hard but critically important process of reconciliation and healing,” he said.

“I also believe that part of the process of healing and reconciliation consists in all of us acknowledging and apologising for our own complicity and responsibility for the things we have done. So what is to be done going forward?”

Sen Coltart said Zimbabwe needs to break the cycle of political violence that dates back to Smith’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence in 1965 through a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

He said his apology for the mass killings of blacks by the racist Rhodesian Government was prompted by what he described as a “sustained social media campaign” portraying him as an unrepentant Rhodesian.

“This week I have been the subject of a sustained social media campaign seeking to portray me as an unrepentant Rhodesian who has refused to condemn atrocities committed by the Rhodesian security services. I have also been accused of killing Black Zimbabweans during my time in the police force and of refusing to apologise for the role that I played,” said Sen Coltart.

He however argued that the portrayal of his views and the allegations made against him were “patently untrue.”

Sen Coltart said he has addressed the issue in his biography: The Struggle Continues: 50 years of tyranny in Zimbabwe and other platforms.

“I unreservedly condemn the atrocities committed by the Rhodesian regime, such as the Nyadzonia massacre in which an estimated 1 028 men, women and children were killed. I also unreservedly condemn the unjust system of governance in Rhodesia which  was based on a white supremacist ideology and engaged in the brutal oppression and systemic discrimination against black, coloured and Asian people,” he said.

Sen Coltart said he regretted not doing enough to oppose the Rhodesian government system.

“I sincerely apologise for the role that I played in propping up a racist regime as a young man in the police force. If I knew then what I know now, I would have resisted conscription and actively sought to fight, using non-violent means, the injustices of the Rhodesian regime,” he said.

Sen Coltart was enlisted into the Rhodesian police force at the age of 17 and served for two years before he left to study law.

He said as a teenager he was caught up by the propaganda that it was a war to preserve Christianity and willingly joined.

He said he takes responsibility for his actions and inactions.

“I also acknowledge that, as a White person, I have benefited from Rhodesia’s discriminatory policies and laws. When I speak with my black, coloured and Asian friends and colleagues about their awful experiences under Rhodesian rule, I deeply regret my failure then to stand by you. I have repented before God and ask for forgiveness,” said the former Cabinet Minister.

Sen Coltart said he expressed revulsion at the death of anti-Apartheid icon Steve Biko in 1977 and had committed to try and make the racist administration in South Africa see things differently.

He also narrated a harrowing experience in which he was forced to dispose of a slain liberation fighter at the height of the insurrection.

“I disclosed this incident in my book precisely because I believe we all have an obligation to share the truth and not spare ourselves in doing so to the millions of people whose lives were terribly affected by that dark period in our history,” said Sen Coltart.—@mashnets

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  • Gatsha

    Mnangagwa its your turn to apologise for being part of the gang of murderers who murdered more than 20,000 Ndebele people, I saw you foaming on the mouth when asked to apologize by the reporter when u were in Davos…u looked so guilty…you definitely will never have my vote Gukurahundist…just apologize, u are guilty and u will pay one way or the other

    • MakhosiXamu

      It’s not only Prez Mnangagwa who must apologize; those on the Zapu side who also commited atrocities have to apologize as well!

      • Wolves Witches and Giants

        Apologise for what? Zapu was merged with Zanu you illiterate bufoon. One of the most temarkable things about Shona peoples is their lack of a collective vision for teir community. That oversized Ghetto called Harare I grew up in

        • ROYAL MTHWAKAZI

          This is about the people. The victims – not ZAPU. ZAPU is not the people. Equally so, ZANU PF is not the Shona people. Wise up!!

      • zibulo

        Diversion, watch out madoda. This one is a diversion from an ignorant person. He associates ZAPU with Dissidents, which is wrong. He swallowed ZANU lies that ZAPU was sponsoring dissidents.

        • ROYAL MTHWAKAZI

          Most of these ZANU PF poodles cant think independently. I can bet, if you ask them to post any documentary evidence they have that links ZAPU to dissidents, they will never do so. Instead they will disappear from this debate on this site, only to reappear in the next, still propagating the same stupid unfounded allegations. Most of these people are the same – they are scared of the truth. They dont want to deal with facts and documentary proof lest they be embarrassed!!

        • Tafadzwa Zisanhi

          So can someone tell me where the Dissidents were coming from.

          • mbongeni

            dont confuse history, he is apologising for incidents that took place during the war of liberation, where smith hired mercenaries from the Vietnam war

          • Lucky Mudimba

            There were no dissidents . It was a creation by Mugabe , Mnangagwa , Shiri and other ultra Zanoids who wanted a one party state. So there was a need to taint ZAPU and uMdalawethu as undesirable elements who needed weeding out completely. Then Mnangagwa being the Security Minister together with Chiwenga being commander at brad barracks hatched a plan to kidnap and kill tourists coming from vicfalls. This was then blamed on dissidents who were not there. Arrests , abductions and killings began on ZAPU members to spite and provoke them to retaliate. Hence the North Korean brigade under Perence Shiri was formed . It was not a national army but killing machine that never got it orders from the General commanding the army. It comprised of one tribe only .

          • ROYAL MTHWAKAZI

            Dabengwa has explained this a million times but you still ask the same question. The so called dissidents are ex-ZIPRA ZNA people who deserted the army after they were frustrated out by former ZANLA Commanders who were the new Commanders in charge of the ZNA. They were about 50 of them.

      • Nyashanu

        Hey, the apology must actually be backdated to pre-colonial times when Lobhengula’s people invaded our land, killed our people including Sekuru Chaminuka, stole our beautiful Chihera women(omaMpofu), chickens, goats, dogs, wildlife, cats, harvests and hard Mashona cattle. It cannot be denied that, uDumiso et al, as members of the then ZAPU wing, unleashed serious violence(and many lives were lost) on ZANU supporters soon after the formation of ZANU in the early sixties..there must be an apology and compensation for that too.

        • ROYAL MTHWAKAZI

          So, why have you and your ZANU PF been stalling on these issues all these years? Who said there wont be any apologies from Matebeleland, if your claims are proven? Nobody from Mthwakazi has ever denied anything. All we have wanted is an open forum such as a Truth and Reconciliation Commission where, perpetrators, victims and witnesses will come forward with their stories and let the truth out. But instead, it is you people on the ZANU PF side who have been ducking and diving. Even if you bring your Momber nebva kadzi vedu issues, you are welcome. We say bring it on and let the truth out!

        • malume

          Lobhengula will apolojayz….here we are not toking of the pepetretaz who are dead …the killers are still alive so we have to tok to them …..nyashanu learn to kip your mouth shut ..it helps kip your tith…ngitsho amazinyo hatshi umnikelo

          • Tafadzwa Zisanhi

            its all the same in a war atrocities are bound to happen ,,,, did we get compensation from Lobengula or the whites, nothing ,,,,
            you guys are rekindling tribal hatred which is undesirable in this age.

          • zibulo

            A war between who and who ? ZNA vs civillians??? Or are you saying the dissidents were the victims ;pregnant women bayoneted, old and young mewn thrown into pits!!! You are spewing what you say is undesirable, your words add fire to the tribal mantra

          • ROYAL MTHWAKAZI

            I dont think he knows what a war is?

          • ROYAL MTHWAKAZI

            Did you ever ask for compensation? I have never heard you say a word except to use that to discriminate against people of Mthwakazi and to perpetrate tribalism and ethnic cleansing against the innocent Matebele descendants.

            What you have been doing is like this: Matebeleland not demanding compensation for Gugurahundi from the govt of the day; but simply resorting to public lynching of Bona, Robert Junior, Chatunga, David and Farai Mnangagwa.

            Why should they suffer for things they know nothing about? This is exactly what you have been doing to the Ndebele people!!

            There is no tribal hatred that is being rekindled here. Nobody is demanding anytinging from Shona people – so how then is this tribal?

            It is Shona people like you who tribalise this Gukurahundi issue because you believe ZANU PF, Mugabe, Mnangagwa, Perence Shiri, Sekeramayi etc represent Shona people. This is why you always come to their defence. ZANU PF does not stand for Shonas so when we demand compensation – its from ZANU PF; not Shonas!!

        • siphongo

          but if you look at scientifically if you move cattle from another province does it live, those who know about farming

      • ROYAL MTHWAKAZI

        ZAPU has never been against any apologies. Those who have stalled on this Gukurahundi issue over the years are the ZANU PF side, and you know it. They dont want the about Gukurahundi to be known. Let me tell you; it has never happened in this world that some one who is guilty pushes for public debates and discussions over the same cases that he is accused of and is said to be guilty of. ZAPU, having been in the forefront of opening up this Gukurahundi issue – to me they dont come across as the guilty party here. The guilty ones are those who have sort to suppress everything to do with Gukurahundi. I am 100% sure ZAPU has nothing to hide and nothing to apologise for; but still they will tell you this – that, should they be proven to have been guilty of Gukurahundi, they would certainly not hesitate to apologise. Would ZANU PF be so candid; would they be so willing to apologise? Please be honest? ZAPU are not afraid of anything because they have nothing to hide – that is why they want everything to be opened up!

      • Goods

        Why are you using Xamu’s name? We all know Xamu has an account at Disqus and never comes on as a guest like you do. Find your own name Nja.

      • Lucky Mudimba

        Hey what crimes, those 6 tourists were kidnapped and killed by Chiwenga and Mnangagwa. That was a strategy to find reason for the massacres. That rasta from Zvimba has spilled the beans. Theresa May now knows and the world.

    • sky

      Ndebele Chiefs must all apologize for conquering the Shona from the first day they arrived in the 19th century

      • ROYAL MTHWAKAZI

        Sorry. I hereby apologise on behalf of all of them dead and alive. Thank you!!

        • sky

          Thank you

          • ROYAL MTHWAKAZI

            Thank. Now, will the cries for Mombe nevakadzi vedu stop from today?

      • zibulo

        When ZAPU/ ZANU/ NDP PCC , etc were formed , it was a Unity of Zimbabweans , showing and agreeing to unite to fight the common enemy, and then live and share in the resources after the Conquest. Now if you support those who are turncoats and change what was done by the founding fathers , then you are a tribalist, and you also will never live in a Peace Time in Zimbabwe.

        • sky

          Lol…. Zapu contested the 1980 elections against Mugabe and Smith. Nkomo was tipped to win the elections (i don’t know why) but lost tremendously to Mugabe. Just like Trump shocked the world by defeating Clinton. Zapu did not accept defeat well and planned to launch a civil war probably to 1. remove Mugabe or 2. Make Matebeleland a country they can rule. The ruling party got wind of this plan with the help of the British and a preemptive attack was executed with funding from Britain. Ask yourself why Gukurahundi is only spoken of in Zimbabwe and doesnt get any mention on BBC, CNN. Ask yourself why no western news govt ever asked Mugabe about this when interviewing him.

          • ROYAL MTHWAKAZI

            You read this from ZANU history, right? Why am I surprised!!

          • sky

            No. Read Judith Todd’s book “Through the Darkness: A life in Zimbabwe”. After reading research on British’s position in the atrocities.

          • ROYAL MTHWAKAZI

            Once a Shona ZANU psychological product always a Shona ZANU psychological product!!

          • Unfortunate

            Mebbe u need to examine this guy who was tipping harpless folks to win this and that. He is likely to tip you to win this year’s lotto.

  • QB

    Apologies are not enough some of our relatives who survived Gukurahundi have health disabilities even today! ZANU PF government has to compensate them as they did to war veterans then there would be a little relief in some families.

  • dotiyenja

    I hope this wont be the route Zanu wants to take, because its not acceptable. We want full compensation. Our region is full of people from outside working in schools, police borders etc because our children had no one to take care of and did not go to schools , they had to go to South Africa to work in unsuitable conditions abanye babulawa yiAids because of Gukurahundi. Full compensation for our communities and individuals affected. Adopt the Catholic Commision’s findings

    • THE TRUTH

      That is why they dont want devolution!

      • Mapiravana

        Devolution yeiko? Why don’t you submit that silly demand to nduna Zwelithini and sub-chief Buthelezi and see if you will not have to beat a hasty retreat from KwaNongoma with Goodwill’s impis in hot pursuit!!!

        • THE TRUTH

          Nawe you can go for your Centralised one party State nonsense back in Burundi where your forefathers came from. They all donmt understand Democracy up there, where you take your cue from. No wonder they still matcheting each other in the streets; that is why its still in your blood. They massacred each other in millions and killed Tutsis – you also did the same to Mthwakazi. Its from Ancestor to descendants!

          • Question Mark?

            Kkkkkkkk. Aaaahhh Yaaas. You mean the M23 don’t you? Now thats crap!

          • THE TRUTH

            Go back to Burundi and do your one party ethnic cleansing centralised govts over there; not in our Khoisan Southetrn Africa!!

    • Question Mark?

      Food for thought! The way u keep pushing and shoving will land everyone in 1836. Historical archives may be broken into. How will reperrations/compansation for occupied territories and innocent folks murdered at KoBulawayo, the Auschwitz of Mtwakhazi be done? Folklore says Mpisi (Hynae) filed a lawsuit against Kalulu (Hare) for trapping Mpisi’s children in a death pit by Kalulu’s home. The wise Jackal-judge of the wild jungle required Mpisi to bring leftovers of his family’s daily food. Shameufl it was that Mpisi and kin lived off Kalulu’s fast decimated clan; and that Mpisis’s children were actually caught in their unrepentent act! If u were wise Jackal what would be your vedict considering that Mpisi and kin will not change their diet of sucking someone’s blood?

  • zibulo

    Both The Colonialist and ZANU were targeting the same people amaNdebele. Where did the wealth of the King disappear to, where did his land go to ? The whole of Bulawayo City and surroundings were royal land and was taken without compensation. The land at Umguza was taken and given to descendants of those who pursued King Lobhengula and were all killed , led by Allan Wilson. This might be Histrory but did not the Versailles Treaty make Right the wrongs of the Nazis ? Whites in zim have never ever shown rermose, nor apologize, even the remaining existing ones , neither is ZANU willling to apologize for the Genocide too . They “accept”in token only when they are looking for Investors at Davos !!!!!

    • Eileen B Zhou

      I never insult people but I encourage them, your history was writen by someone else. Find out more before you jump to the wrong conclusion both sides aired and add the evils of Rhodesia, what a mess. Zimbabwe as I was told by one Rhodesia zimbabwe was sacrificed by to keep Zimbabwe, Angola and Mozambique from from invading South Africa. Do research and do no believe everthing. Both sides did bad nothings.

  • Eileen B Zhou

    If it’s true tell him spill the beans on it all, how the Gukurahundi started in Manicaland and Mozambique and spread through to Middlelands and Matabeleland, how their killed Tongogara and tried to kill Joshua Nkomo and Mnangagwa. In fighting and a whole of suffering. This man is not telling the truth, spilling everything then we will see.

    • ROYAL MTHWAKAZI

      That is the prupose of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. We want to hear out all that!

  • zikhali

    how can this guy apoliogise as though he was responsible single handendly for the Rhodesia atrocites

    • musa

      he apologises, you are on his case. he doesn’t apologise others are on his case, what’s a white gotta do?

  • Martin Chipimo

    Macdes, I really wonder what we want to achieve through going through these very sad moments in our history. Reconciliation and forgiveness YES, but we need to be careful NOT to rekindle the hatred once again.

    • bhinikwa

      If you have nothing to apologise for keep quiet. There are people who really did heinous things & they must answer for themselves. If you do not know what happened & done by who. Just wait until they confess with details of what they did then you will know. We know & experienced it in the flesh.

    • THE TRUTH

      Reconciliation comes after knowing the truth. Forgiveness for what, when you dont know the truth?

      The sequence is this:

      1. First its the TRUTH that has to be told by both parties;

      2. Contrition, Apologies and reparations then follow;

      3. Forgiveness is then the third step; and finally

      4. Reconciliation.

      • zibulo

        before your Number 2, it has to be Actions/Prosecutions. apologies come when the perpetrator is in prison or has paid his due price according to the Law

        • THE TRUTH

          No man. Prosecutions only arise if you fail to tell the truth – in other words, should investigations prove you lied under oath at the TRC; as what should have happened in the South African TRC.

  • Nkunzemnyama

    The Gugurahundists bastards wont apologise.

    • THE TRUTH

      Why do you want apologies. We want reparations, not apologies. Apologies are useless!!

      • Nkunzemnyama

        Votserk who makes you an honest brother to ask me that rubbish.

        • THE TRUTH

          Lawe votsek njaaaaaa!!!!

          • Nkunzemnyama

            Msunukanyoko swina-ndini

          • Nkunzemnyama

            Msunukanyoko

  • THE TRUTH

    Mr Coltart. You are a true gentleman; I can tell you are sincere. I cannot understand why people are blaming Mr Coltart for being part of the BSAP at the age of 17. He was young and impressionable and therefore was susceptible to propaganda; just like the millions of the Shona youngsters who were subjected to Mugabe and ZANU PF propaganda especially from 1980.

    The issue is; it is not what you did in the past, but what you did about your past when new information came to light that had been hidden from you by the propagandists. This is the difference between Coltart and the many Shonas who continue to support ZANU PF’s Gukurahundi violence today.

  • QINISO

    Thank the Lord I can breath in South Africa – what a breath of fresh air it is to live in this country. Zimbabwe is the devil personified; Satan’s Kingdom for sure!!

    I hate Zimbabwe, and have hated it since 1980 when I ran away from Shona domination and Shona tribalism. I have indeed made it big here and my family is the happiest ever after.

    • Oh! Thnx

      U home. Curse your grandpas for being run outa that country in the first place on account of thieving the king’s hooves. Puliz just zip it. ZImbabwe is beautiful.

      • yowe

        Kkkkkkkk, yowee! Wandiuraya Oh! Thnx.

      • QINISO

        You are still sulking?? I thought you are happy with your Shona Gugurahundi Republic without me? Whats your problem, now??

        I said I am breathing fresh air; fresh oxygen here in Mzansi with no Shona tribalism. If my memory serves me right, think I last heard the Shona languages ringing through my ears ears some 35 years ago. What a relief!!

        • Oh! Thnx

          That there is sure home except the hooves rustled long back say u ain’t wilkomen. As u enjoy ur stay while it lasts there, by all means avoid the cattle pens. In fact, the smell or sight of cowdung is bad news 4 u; run for dear life. It invites the curse of fathers which starts the restless globetrotting all over again. Yu will flee due north-north again guided by the departed. Now, that ain’t good.

          • QINISO

            kkkkkk Lol – a Mombe neva kadzi vedu mentality still today, 200 years later kkkk Lol. Its called mental slavery!

    • Gatsha

      I feel pity for our brothers and sisters who have to suffer from the continued domination by one tribe, who do not have the same opportunities in life…its a sad story. Our provinces have been overrun there is no place to call home. Our young brothers have no option but to come to SA, even an opportunity to join Fawcett security goes to Shona guys right in the land of our forefathers. Cry beloved country.

  • MakhosiXamu

    Some comments and utterances – Coltart ?. You may be sorry of what The Rhodies did but the majority of kith and kin don’t share your views. You are just a drop in the ocean. I am deeply saddened by sympathies towards ED’s utterances and laws. ED , Shiri , Kashiri, and all those soldiers were the master minders of murder, shame.

  • zibulo

    Phillip Chiyangwa was also in BSAP Rhodesia police, now in ZANU. SO was Webster Shamu before he ran away ebalekela izikwelede ayezidalile, then came back as Charles Ndlovu. when his immunity was guaranteed he then resorted to his name he used to defraud, Webster , again. Philip never apologized

  • bantu

    the guy might be trying to get votes in the coming elections

  • Njabulo:libertyatliberty

    Njabulo libertyatliberty at gmail dot com.Do not try to use D Coltart to cover the Gukurahundi case.This is just a plan to divert our attention from the main issue .Leave him alone.

  • libertyatliberty

    Njabulo.libertyatliberty at gmail dot com.Please leave D Coltart alone.During the Rhodesian era ,it was compulsory for the whites to join either the army or the police force.They had no choice.They joined under duress of circumstances.So stop blaming him.You just want him to feel guilty for that ,yet the biggest killers are Mugabe and ,Ed etal.Of course,he had to apologise because you put pressure on him for nothing.And his profuse apology is sincere.Its better that instituting a useless statute which does not have any meaning at all as it is only to be used to protect the perpetrators instead of being used against them to yield justice for the victims of the Gukurahundi atrocities.(fact)