Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo’s reaction to veteran politician and human rights defender David Coltart’s recently released explosive memoirs has been brutal but also telling.
BY PAIDAMOYO MUZULU
Coltart takes no prisoners in the book, Struggle Continues: 50 Years of Tyranny in Zimbabwe as he reveals some uncomfortable issues about the country’s ruling elite.
The book has infuriated supporters of President Robert Mugabe, Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, and even former prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai alike.
But it is Moyo who seems to have emerged as the former Education minister’s harshest critic as he claims the book is littered with errors and that Coltart had ulterior motives in penning his memoirs.
The political science professor has been using Twitter to launch an onslaught on Coltart, a senator for Bulawayo and MDC secretary for legal affairs.
He has promised a review of the book released last month, which he says would be posted on his Twitter account with 58 100 followers as of yesterday.
Moyo has dismissed the memoirs as biased against black Zimbabweans and not carrying any new information on the country’s past.
“Other than Paul Themba Nyathi, I don’t recall reading he consulted blacks. The book is basically a white project,” the Tsholotsho North MP tweeted last week in response to a question by one of his followers
“This is what people are missing: @DavidColtart’s book on key issues like Gukurahundi reveals nothing new. Nothing,” he added as people queried his stance on the memoirs.
In his critique of the book so far, Moyo does not hide his dislike of Coltart, a reaction the man who helped shine a light on the Gukurahundi genocide through his work with the Catholic Commission for Peace and Justice (CCJP) with a report in 1997, says does not surprise him.
“I think that his resentment may stem from the fact that I often refer to Moyo’s ‘previous life’, which perhaps is embarrassing for him,” Coltart said.
“I bear no grudges against him and greatly respect the work he did in the 1990s, particularly in the publication of his book about the 1990s elections called Voting for Democracy.”
Moyo is also not spared in the book and it is possible that Coltart might have touched a raw nerve, hence the angry reaction.
However, the former minister sees a positive side to the fact that Moyo has taken a serious interest in his book.
“I see that 4 the last 2 days Jono Moyo has tweeted almost exclusively about my book #StruggleContinues -it must’ve really got up his nose!,” he tweeted last week.
“As the working week draws to a close I must thank @ProfJNMoyo 4 the wonderful publicity he has given 2 my book #StruggleContinues. Siyabonga (thank you),” Coltart proded Moyo again and the minister responded in kind.
“Your responses to comments & observactions on your book are shockingly amateurish for a former Education minister!,” said Moyo yesterday on the same platform.
Coltart says Moyo’s reaction to the book is understandable because most of it does not portray the ruling Zanu PF party in good light.
“Moyo finds it hard to dispute the overwhelming evidence of fraud, corruption & violence against his party Zanu PF so resorted 2 #redherrings,” he said.
Mnangagwa threatened to take legal action after “inflammatory” statements he made at the height of the Gukurahundi atrocities in Matabeleland and Midlands in the 1980s were reproduced in the book.
Coltart used statements that were published by the State-controlled Chronicle in 1983.
Former Chronicle editor Geoff Nyarota says the VP would be wasting his time if he sued over the statements as he never challenged them at the time.
According to the CCJP report, at least 20 000 people, mostly supporters of Joshua Nkomo’s Zapu and members of the party’s former military wing Zipra, were massacred during the pogrom.
Mugabe has described the army killings as “a moment of madness” but has never apologised for deploying the North Korea trained 5th Brigade, which committed the atrocities.