Patriotic front formations in Zim: Part 22…the Catholic-Coltart conspiracy

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THE December 22 1987 Unity Accord was a patriotic front African solution to an African problem whose immense significance has been understated right to this day.

Through the accord, the ZANU and ZAPU patriotic front leadership had successfully circumvented the usual Western-sponsored post-independence chaos that had bogged down progress in much of post-colonial Africa in which context Angola and Mozambique were among the worst examples.

It is in that sense that it has already been stated that the Unity Accord overshadowed and put to shame the intentions of David Coltart’s foreign-sponsored Catholic Commission for Justice. 

The ‘moment of madness’ had passed almost overnight and peace had returned to the land ‘in time for the expiry of yet another madness – the Lancaster House ‘Constitutional madness’ under which white settlers who constituted only three percent of the population enjoyed an unearned and undeserved 20 percent representation in Parliament and an exclusive 70 percent ownership of all prime land in Zimbabwe as well as 100 percent of the economy. 

The fact that ‘a protracted armed struggle’  for stolen land had yielded a willing-buyer willing-seller deal for survivors of that genocide was in itself an even bigger ‘madness.’

The longer perspective shows that the Catholic-Coltart conspiracy was not abandoned. 

It was merely archived for an opportune future context. The intervening period spanning 1988 and 1997 would be filled with activity designed to repair the damage inflicted on neo-colonial machinations by the December 22 1987 accord.

It has already been stated that part of the activity would be the anti-Government student eruptions led by then SRC president Arthur Mutambara who would shortly be awarded the Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford. Earlier instalments to this series established that a critical objective of the scholarship was to nurture ‘British style’ leadership in English-speaking countries, including Germany. 

The homosexual sponsor (Cecil Rhodes) had, in his racist arrogance, obviously not foreseen the winds of change that would bring a rejection of that notion. 

And, at this juncture, it is important to emphasise that until 1977, the scholarship had been racially exclusive of black people and in that regard, the selection of David Hatendi as the first recipient of the scholarship should not be misconstrued as a deliberate act of contrition. 

It was simply a compromise to international humanitarian pressure.

It is pertinent to also mention that the University of Zimbabwe SRC secretary-general in Mutambara’s tenure was Tendai Biti, a law student who, on completion of his studies, would join Honey and Blackenberg.  

Established in 1893, the firm advertised that it was the first law firm in Rhodesia, a boast which, in essence, was an inadvertent admission of direct involvement in the illegal transfer of our land to evil hands. 

It is needless to say that a partner in such a firm would be aware of such a background and the historical implications, more so, if the partner was a descendent of those swindled and, in that regard, a generational victim of the swindle.

One would ‘logically’ expect the ‘generational victim’ of such a colossal swindle to use such a discovery to correct the corruption in which the generational poverty of the black victims and the generational affluence of the colonial robbers have been growing exponentially from the day of occupation.  

But Biti did the illogical. 

He became a founder member of the MDC, Western-sponsored to contest compulsory acquisition and equitable redistribution of the stolen land. 

The generational victim of British settler-land grabs was most certainly present when BBC and CNN filmed Morgan Tsvangirai surrounded by racially exclusive generational beneficiaries of the swindle, cheque books in hand, bribing the trade unionist to betray the liberation struggle.

The late MDC T leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Biti’s case brings to mind the Nyadzonia massacre of Zimbabwean refugees by the Rhodesian Selous Scouts in a raid they code-named ‘Operation Eland’. 

In the documentary, rebellion, ex-Selous Scout Colonel Mlambo (late) recoucounts how, when they were mopping up Nyadzonia (finishing off the wounded), he came across a wounded girl from his own home area. 

The girl was crying for help. 

He doesn’t say what he did to her. 

He only says: “I walked away and did not want to think about it.”

In the case of Biti, it seems that, like the Selous Scout Mlambo, he too is still walking away, not wanting to think about the implications of their co-operation with those who stole our land and are punishing us for wanting it back.

The MDC was a whole structure of madness the patriotic front had to contend with after the Unity Accord and the immensity of the achievement should be guaged from that context.

Professor Welshman Ncube, who had made history by becoming a professor in the Law Department at the age of 31, was secretary-general of the MDC. 

Another lawyer, Learnmore Jongwe, was the MDC spokesperson. 

He was destined to die in prison not for a political crime but a horrific case of violence against defenceless women that left his wife dead from 17 stab wounds inflicted by a kitchen knife designed to cut food to sustain human life and not to take it. 

Another lawyer, Selous Scout David Coltart, was legal adviser to the MDC when the leader, Tsvangirai, declared his intention to remove the late former President Robert Mugabe, not through peaceful ‘democracy’ as suggested by the party name, but the violence that had been the Selous Scouts calling card during liberation struggle.

It would become the trend in Tsvangirai’s political career for his tongue to run away with him. 

Julian Asanje’s Wikileaks would describe him as ‘needing massive hand-holding’. 

Not that the necessity of that had ever been in doubt. The posts of legal adviser (Coltart), treasurer (Roy Bennet), policy chief (Eddie Cross) and head of security (Giles Mutsekwa, lawyer and ex-Rhodesian African Rifles), which were all held by ex-Rhodesian mafia actually translated to massive-handling that still was not enough to contain the excesses arising from the trade unionist’s meagre intellect.  

Roy Bennett
Job Sikhala

Another lawyer was Job Sikhala. 

When the security chiefs showed their hand (regarding the succession issue) by declaring that they would never salute a Western puppet or MDC leader, Sikhala would be among those the MDC would send to try to bribe the late Air Marshal Perence Shiri to betray the Zimbabwe Defence Forces. 

He would intimate that the MDC leadership had been scared stiff by the security chiefs’ declaration. 

His suggestion to Shiri was to demand US$10 million and give it to them (Sikhala and company) instead, if he had no use for it.

It is worth repeating that the Catholic-Coltart conspiracy had not been abandoned but merely archived for an opportune future context after relevant repairs to the damage inflicted on neo-colonial machinations by the December 22 1987 Unity Accord.

The damage management included the deployment of black US Ambassadors, not as innocent ‘diplomacy’ but for the neo-colonial terrorist possibilities that could be harvested from their black skin in black Africa.

Hindsight now shows that the first deployment of US black Ambassadors to Zimbabwe coincided with the expiry of the Lancaster House Constitutional limitations and the implementation of the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (ESAP) — recommended and sponsored by the World Bank whose president was traditionally an American citizen nominated by the US, the largest shareholder in the World Bank Group.

Steven Rhodes, Edward Lanpher and Johnnie Carson were deployed in succession between 1990 and 1997.

Lanpher, who stayed longest (October 25 1991-January 12 1995), had been the US representative at the 1979 Lancaster House Conference and his special task had been to protect white settler-interests. 

Rhodesian white settlers and American white settlers shared a common history translating to common interests.  

Both had stolen land from native owners and both had made unilateral declarations of independence from Britain. 

In that respect, US’ special interest in the Lancaster House Conference was to prevent a precedent that could be invoked by their own native American victims to restore lost land tenure without compensation.

It is Lanpher who had made the false promise that the US and Britain would fund land resettlement under the willing-buyer willing-seller arrangement in an unrecorded tripartite agreement (with Mugabe and Nkomo) made outside the conference venue at the private residence of the Commonwealth secretary-general of the time. 

Both the US and Britain would renege on the promise in a context pre-empted by student and labour movement anti-Government activity as well as Selous Scout Coltart’s whirlwind tours of Europe and America, blemishing the human rights record of Zimbabwe. 

His Catholic-commissioned: Breaking the Silence – A Report on the Disturbances in Matabeleland and the Midlands, 1980-1988 would be published in 1997, ‘opportunely’ ahead of the 1998 Donors Conference convened to mobilise funding for equitable redistribution of land. 

The idea would be to dissuade donor confidence in respect of sponsorship of the land resettlement programme.

At the 1998 Land Donor Conference, the Anglo-American position would be that their governments did not support compulsory acquisition of land without compensation.

To be continued…

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