Coltart caught pants down


ONE of the notable events in January 2018 is the apology tendered by one David Coltart, to the people of Zimbabwe.
By his own admission, he is a Rhodie who served in the British South Africa Police (BSAP) force; this means he served on the wrong side of our history by not only promoting and protecting the exclusive privileges of a white minority, but by actively participating in the suppression and oppression of black Zimbabweans.
Of interest is that Coltart made the apology after what he says was, “…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 and of refusing to apologise for the role that I played.”
The fact remains that Zimbabweans still feel he has not acquitted himself well enough to be regarded as someone who is acting in good faith, more so when an apology has to be extracted from him with great difficulty!
In fact, there is a yawning gap between Coltart the human rights defender that he claims to be today, and the sordid role he played during his Rhodesian days.
In other words, he is not a credible voice that is entitled to lecture anyone about human rights, good governance, democracy and freedom of expression when his role in the past says the opposite.
This is the dilemma that Coltart faces now as he tries to claw his way up to leadership positions in our country.
Compounding his dilemma is the fact that his apology remains suspect and here is why.
First: Coltart says: “I have always been open about the fact that I was once a police officer with the BSAP. At age 17, I was conscripted and joined the police force and served for just over two years.”
The point which someone like Coltart is missing here is that the BSAP was not some missionary entity set up to perform charity work in various communities.
It was one of the most sinister organisations set up by Cecil John Rhodes; an organisation which played a foundational role in colonising this country.
It played a major role in the massacres which took place in the 1893 war against the Ndebele Kingdom, something which it repeated on a genocidal scale in the 1896/7 Ndebele and Shona uprisings.
Again, between 1957 and 1979, the same police force functions as an integral component of the Rhodesian Security Services. It finds itself in the fore-front of killing thousands of civilians in the name of preserving white civilisation!
In all the three instances cited above, over 120 000 blacks are slaughtered by the British.
In other words, we have not forgotten what the BSAP stands for in our history; it remains a terror machine which worked hand-in-glove with all Rhodesian Security Services to butcher our people.
And we all know that the security services generated a sense of security for whites and acute feelings of insecurity for blacks!
In the same way that the British have never forgotten the crimes committed by Adolf Hitler, we have not forgotten the crimes committed by the BSAP.
We happen to know that during the liberation struggle, personnel in the BSAP and those in the Selous Scouts played inter-changeably murderous roles.
In his apology, Coltart says that he served for ‘just over two years’, as if to say that it was too brief a period for him to have caused much grief.
Well, the issue is; a day, a week, a month or a year, all are long enough for one to commit heinous crimes.
And we all know that the BSAP committed crimes against blacks on a daily basis since it was the organisation sworn to enforce the draconian and discriminatory laws of colonial Rhodesia on a 24-hour basis.
Second: Coltart ends his apology by insisting that a Truth Commission would be ideal ‘to uncover atrocities committed by and against all races going back to at least 1965’.
But a closer look at his recent apology shows that our self-proclaimed human rights defender is not telling the truth. As cited above, he claims that he was ‘conscripted’, which means he was forced to join the BSAP. But available information indicates otherwise.
Coltart attended the Christian Brother’s College, Bulawayo, and wrote his ‘A’-Level Economics examinations in 1974, obtaining an ‘E’ grade.
In his second sitting for ‘A’-Level subjects in 1975, he obtained an ‘E’ grade in History and another ‘E’ grade in English Literature.
In early August 1975, he applied to join the BSAP because, according to available evidence, ‘the police force would offer him an interesting career’.
I challenge him to deny this!
Because Coltart applied when he was underage, itself an indication of his enthusiasm to join the BSAP, he needed parental consent for which his father signed on August 24 1975.
Subsequently, Coltart’s application was cleared by the Special Branch on September 3 1975 whereas those conscripted did not go through the clearance process.
Below is the oath which Coltart took on September 30 1975.
It reads: “I, David Coltart, hereby accept appointment in the rank of cadet with the BSAP in terms of conditions prescribed by the Police Act of 1964 and the regulations made thereafter; the Government Service (Pensions) Act, 1971 and the regulations made in terms of the Act; the Government Service (Disability Benefits) Act 1971, and the regulations made in terms of the Act and the BSAP standby orders.
My appointment will be effective from the September 30 1975 for an initial period until my 18th birthday.
My commencing salary will be at the rate of 1,704 dollars per annum. I have read the above conditions and accept them without reservations.”
Signed at Salisbury — David Coltart.
His cadet force number was 883.
Further, during his training as a cadet, he excelled so well that out of the 15-member squad, he came first on course no. 7/75.
When compared to his dull academic performance at ‘A’-Level studies, his excellent performance as a cadet betrays his enthusiasm for oppressing blacks.
Before attaining the age of 18, Coltart dutifully took an oath in advance as a full-time member of the BSAP.
He signed for it on October 4 1975, and it reads:
“I, David Coltart, on appointment as a member of the BSAP do sincerely promise and swear that I will be faithful and bear full allegiance to Rhodesia, and observe the laws of Rhodesia, that I will act as a member of the force for preserving the peace and for preventing offences against the same and that I will to the best of my skill and knowledge discharge all police and military duties faithfully according to the law and that during my service in the BSAP, I will obey such lawful orders as may be given me and will observe all laws, orders and regulations relating to the BSAP as may from time to time be in force.”
The service number allotted to Coltart then was 9478. And the initial salary came up to $2,787 (Rhodesian dollars) per annum.
This was a huge sum then, considering that the Rhodesian dollar was at most times stronger than the British pound.
Important to observe in this oath is the police and military duties Coltart swore to perform. These duties partly explain why he finds himself dumping dead bodies of our liberation fighters down disused mining shafts, most probably at Chibondo.
In his apology, Coltart mentions that he was a member of the BSAP for just over two years. But we know why he left the organisation; the liberation war reached its climax in 1978 and by that time it became obvious that whites were losing the war.
He, together with many Rhodies, left for South Africa, Coltart, specifically, for the University of Cape Town to study law, but in reality to run away from possible indictments for war-crimes.
When the then Prime Minister designate, Robert Mugabe, proclaimed the famous policy of national reconciliation on March 4 1980, Coltart was one of the Rhodies who begged to be allowed to come back to Zimbabwe.
Since then, he has proclaimed himself a human rights defender of sorts!
But he now comes across as a self-seeking, self-serving and an incorrigibly opportunistic character who cannot be relied upon to tell the truth, more so when he tenders an apology which turns out to be deliberately misleading.


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