FORMER Education minister David Coltart says MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai and Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo were not complicit in the Gukurahundi atrocities even if they were Zanu PF members at the time.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
The Bulawayo-based legal expert was involved in an ugly spat with Moyo on social media over Gukurahundi on Monday.
Coltart courted Moyo’s ire when he said people who knew what was happening in Matabeleland and Midlands during the atrocities, but remained quite were complicit in the crimes.
Moyo said he was offended by the former Education minister’s tweets and went on to call him a Rhodie and Selous Scout.
But Coltart refuted Moyo’s claims arguing he never accused him of being complicit in the genocide.
Moyo in 2005 said his father was killed by the North Korean trained Fifth Brigade. The minister said he joined Zanu PF in 1979 while still in the United States.
“If you follow all my Twitter feeds you will note that the key is issue is ‘knowledge’, not mere membership of Zanu PF,” Coltart said.
“There were many members of Zanu PF, rank and file members and even some in Cabinet, who had no or little idea about what was happening in Matabeleland between 1982 and 1987.
“They cannot be held complicit for what happened then.
“However if one was aware, had knowledge of what was going on and did nothing, then one is complicit,” Coltart said in an emailed response to Southern Eye questions.
In a telephone interview prior to the response Coltart argued he had “asked and not accused Moyo”.
“In other words any member of Zanu PF who had knowledge of what was going on and who did nothing, i.e. did not either resign or speak out, is complicit,” Coltart said.
“They may not have organised or even agreed with the genocide, but they became complicit by not doing something to stop it.
“If we know that a crime is being committed and do nothing to stop it, and through our silence aid and abet the crime, then we are at the very least morally complicit.”
Moyo responded to Coltart’s tweets by saying: “You’re a plain Rhodie idiot. I repeat, you’re a plain Rhodie idiot. How dare you say I’m responsible for Gukurahundi you bloody Selous Scout?”
It was at this point that Moyo asked Coltart if he meant “Tsvangirai was also culpable” of the genocide given the opposition leader’s early political connections to the ruling party.
“So as regards Tsvangirai — as far as I know he was a rank and file member who held no position in Zanu PF at the relevant time,” Coltart replied.
“As far as I know he had no idea what happened in Matabeleland at the relevant time and so he cannot be held to be complicit.”
Coltart also refuted claims by Moyo that he had opposed a proposed Bill on Gukurahundi in 2005.
“That is not true — only the Speaker, then (the late) John Nkomo, has the power to block Bills,” he said.
Moyo was behind the Gukurahundi Bill during his stint as an independent MP as he pushed for compensation for the massacres that occurred during Zimbabwe’s early years of independence.