Has David Coltart repented? – Victim of colonial brutality asks

02 Oct, 2022 - 00:10 0 Views
Has David Coltart  repented? – Victim of colonial brutality asks David Coltart

The Sunday News

Mkhululi Sibanda, Assistant Editor 

FOR years, Citizens Coalition for Change treasurer Mr David Coltart has presented himself as a human rights advocate, who abhors injustice but not on the hands of natives of Kezi where he served as part of the brutal Rhodesian forces in the 1970s. 

Mr Coltart has always been at pains trying to justify his involvement in the abuse of blacks when he was a cop based at Kezi Police Station in Matabeleland South Province. But his victims still remember his alleged heavy handedness on blacks particularly those who were involved in nationalist politics to unseat the white minority rule.

One of his victims, now businessman Cde Rabson Mfana Dube, says in 1977 he found himself thrown into custody for 111 days after Mr Coltart allegedly arrested him “without evidence”.  Cde Dube was accused of facilitating the trafficking of youths into neighbouring Botswana to join the armed struggle. 

Cde Dube said although he was involved in the movement of youths into neighbouring countries to train as freedom fighters, on the day, he was arrested by Mr Coltart there was no evidence linking him to what he was accused of. 

Mr Dube was then working as a bus conductor for Pelandaba Bus Services, which played an important role in the transmission of messages and material supplies to  freedom fighters during the armed struggle.  

“The first time I was arrested was in 1977 at Sun Yet Sen by David Coltart, yena lowu uColtart. There were boys who had left school at Gloag Mission, a boarding school in Bubi District. Among those boys was Mathemba Sibanda, the son of the late well known Kezi businessman, Siteba Sibanda. Those boys boarded our bus at Renkini in Bulawayo but they were not part of those recruited by Zapu, so we were not aware of their activities. They did not follow the protocol. Their destination was Mtshumayeli Stores. So, when we got to Kezi Business Centre, Mathemba disembarked and met a former Gloag pupil who had been his schoolmate. Excited Mathemba told that former schoolmate that he was leaving for the war on that day. Unbeknown to him that former schoolmate had joined the Rhodesian police force and was based in Kezi. So, on the way we got to a roadblock and Mathemba was arrested but since he had not disclosed that they were many, his schoolmates managed to proceed and we dropped them off at Mtshumayeli Stores.”

Cde Dube said on their way back to Bulawayo the following morning that was when he was arrested at a roadblock that had been set up by Mr Coltart and other officers. The roadblock was near Sun Yet Sen, which is south of Maphisa Growth Point. 

“Among the police officers kwakulejoni (white policeman) and that officer was David Coltart. I was accused of recruiting terrorists. The regime officers demanded that they go through the ticket book to check whether there were people who had dropped off at Mtshumayeli Stores. Coltart and his colleagues then took me to Sun Yet Police Station where I was detained for seven days. After that I was moved to Kezi Police Station where I was further detained for 14 days.  From there I was taken to Gwanda where I was detained for 90 days. The conditions were terrible as during that time I did not bath. I was still wearing the same clothes I was caught putting on. When I was released, I was scantily dressed and someone had to give me a pair of overalls.”

Contacted for comment, Mr Coltart was livid and accused this reporter of doing the bidding for “corrupt people”. He even asked this reporter where he originally comes from and when told that it was Kezi he said:

“You need to honour the history of Joshua Nkomo. Don’t do the bidding for corrupt people.” Dr Nkomo came from Kezi.

He said what Cde Dube said was “absolutely untrue and a total fabrication of events laced with a political agenda”. Asked whether during his time in Kezi he never made any arrests, Mr Coltart said he had made some arrests, but still accused Cde Dube of fabricating events.

In his autobiography titled The Struggle Continues 50 Years  Of Tyranny in Zimbabwe, Mr Coltart writes that he trained as a police officer at Morris Depot under Squad 7/75 and was adjudged as the best recruit before he was posted to Kezi Police Station.

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