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It has been almost one month since MDC Secretary for Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Senator David Coltart, launched his book entitled “The Struggle Continues: 50 Years of Tyranny in Zimbabwe”. Senator Coltart is a human rights defender, politician, lawyer and community activist.
In terms of our national constitution, as citizens we are free to express our thoughts in action or writing – and Senator Coltart is not an exception. There are numerous articles, documentaries, books, films and plays that have been published in Zimbabwe whose contents we might not agree with but we will always defend the freedom of the authors to express themselves in factual narratives and in opinion. Since 1980, the ruling party, ZANU PF, has portrayed the liberation struggle as a one-man one party band, totally disregarding and denigrating the role of other nationalists like the late Dr. Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo.
Senator David Coltart has stepped forward to package his experiences, narratives and opinions into this very important book. The longstanding debate on the causes of the massacre of over twenty thousand citizens at the cruel sword of the ZANU PF controlled Fifth Brigade draws controversy because the State has deliberately downplayed its gravity. Senator Coltart participated in the CCJP Report on the Gukurahundi atrocities, incidentally that the ZANU PF leader is known to have referred to as a ‘moment of madness’. Thus in pursuit of truth and justice, Senator Coltart has attempted to review some aspects of this unfortunate episode in our lives, and those that were involved directly or indirectly are the first to cry “Foul!”.
Recent threats on Senator Coltart by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Virginia Mabhiza show a brazen determination to intimidate and harass citizens for their right to express themselves freely, which is against the constitution the country’s leaders swore to protect and defend. This continued abrogation of the rights enshrined in the constitution is something that should worry all Zimbabweans.
Those that have facts to argue about the Gukurahundi atrocities are free to publish numerous results of several commissions of enquiries but whose reports remain embargoed by the ZANU PF government.
Noting as well that Senator Coltart was a founder member of the united MDC; and that he was involved in that party at the highest level. He wrote many articles both in the conventional media and social networks, expressing his thoughts on the causes of the 2005 split. Senator Coltart has been consistent that one of the most damning causes of the MDC split was the perpetration of violence on innocent members of the party. There are many reports, especially by Zimbabwe Peace Project, that point fingers to members of the opposition as perpetrators of violence albeit not in as much intensity as the ruling party.
What we know is the MDC in its current state is a highly principled institution that upholds freedom of expression at the same time keen to promote factual writing and free expressions of opinion. We abhor violence in whatever form, and believe that our national constitution has enough provisions to change the government legally. Our fear is that the ruling party is dragging its feet in creating conditions suitable for free political completion. All efforts to empower institutions that promote reconciliation, truth and forgiveness have been fruitless, this is why citizens like Senator Coltart should be commended for taking the yoke to recite history through the prism of their personal experience. So why vilify them and denigrate such great efforts?
We therefore urge Zimbabweans to read the book “The Struggle Continues: 50 Years of tyranny in Zimbabwe” so that commentaries are made from informed position, not inflammatory, racist, emotionally charged conjecture.
Source Kurauone Chihwayi
MDC National Spokesperson
photo-MDC President Welshman Ncube