Zimbabwean former minister and MP Jonathan Moyo has written a long open letter to main opposition CCC senior leader David Coltart over his remarks about his late father Melusi Job Mlevu who was brutally killed by the state-sponsored Fifth Brigade – the instrument of Gukurahundi massacres – on 12 January 1983.
The late former president Robert Mugabe was the architect of Gukurahundi implemented by top Zanu-PF political leaders and military commanders, including President Emmerson Mnangagwa, then State Security minister.
Gukurahundi’s root causes and dynamics lie in polarised history, political rivalries and ethnic hostilities, including Mugabe’s blood-soaked pursuit for power and hegemony through a path of genocide.
Moyo was protesting Coltart’s reference to his father’s murder on which he had said he always genuinely sympathised with him and his attendant political involvement with Zanu-PF.
In the process, Moyo bares his soil, rarely telling his revealing personal life story and history which is not known by many and his association with Zanu-PF; how it started, developed and mutated into a dramatic and tumultuous political association, relationship and experience; its highs, lows and the tragic in the process.
Moyo’s letter follows below:
Dear David Coltart,
WHY I CANNOT SUPPORT QUINTUPLE C: COLTART, CHAMISA AND CCC
My attention has been drawn to your fraudulent and disgusting tweet you posted on my Twitter TL yesterday David, in which you quoted a tweet I posted four years ago on 22 January 2019 in memory of my father. I reproduce below both tweets for ease of reference:
“I have always genuinely sympathized with you Jonathan – the loss of your father in such circumstances must be devastating. I just don’t understand why you continue to side with the party which brought such suffering to your family, and which still brings so much suffering.” – Tweet by David Coltart, 30 July 2023; commenting on my tweet below I posted four years ago:
“1/5 On 22 January 1983 my father, Melusi Job Mlevu, was callously murdered in Tsholotsho by gukurahundi soldiers & the CIO. They tortured him upon his arrest & in front of his family; got him to dig a shallow grave, tortured him again; pumped bullets into his body & buried him!” – Jonathan Moyo tweet posted on 22 January 2019.
Now David, are you really serious that you “have always genuinely sympathised with me”, because of “the loss of [my] father in such circumstances”?
And since there’s no strategic ambiguity about the meaning of “always”, as it means exactly what it says, how have you “always genuinely” expressed your sympathy over all the years, since knowing about the circumstances under which I lost my father?
The fact that your tweet yesterday is a response to a tweet I posted a long four years ago on 22 January 2019 – in memory of my father who was murdered by the Fifth Brigade in Tsholotsho on 22 January 1983 – shows and proves that you’re a fraud and a charlatan with neither sensitivity towards me and my family nor respect for us as Africans and human beings.
All told, and typically of Zimbabweans of British colonial extraction and in particular of soul-free Rhodies, you’re contemptuous of our culture as a family and as Africans.
You see David, it is fraudulent and utterly disgusting of you to claim that you have ever sympathised with me over my father’s loss. It’s actually patronising and very insulting in the extreme.
Your fraud is clear even to yourself, that’s why you did not express your so-called sympathy when I first posted my tweet on 22 January 2019 in memory of my father who was murdered on 22 January 1983.
In fact, until your fraudulent tweet yesterday, you had never before expressed any genuine or even non genuine sympathy for me and my family regarding the loss of my father on 22 January 1983.
Even fools will immediately see that the key sentence in your tweet yesterday is not about your cruel declaration of fraudulent sympathy for me and my family over the circumstances of my father’s loss, a loss my family commemorated this year not yesterday but seven months ago on 22 January 2023, with no tweet of sympathy from you.
The sentence in your tweet yesterday that captures what you really foolishly communicating to me is this:
“I just don’t understand why you continue to side with the party which brought such suffering to your family, and which still brings so much suffering.”
David: what I say, believe and do is without exception based on and an existential product of what I know, what I think and what I have experienced or lived. I never say, believe or do anything that I don’t know, don’t, I have not thought of or which I don’t believe.
Now David, you pretend to be a democrat who believes in the rule of law as enshrined in the Constitution, so, what business of yours is my choice of what side to support or to not support in politics?
Are my freedom of conscience and my right to make political choices freely now subject to your understanding, or are they my constitutional rights, as they are for every Zimbabwean, in terms of sections 60 and 67 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe?
Are you aware David and do you understand that the Constitution in 67(1)(b) says every Zimbabwean citizen has the right “to make political choices freely”?
And, David, are you aware that section 60 of the Constitution says every person, not just every Zimbabwean but every person, has the right to freedom of conscience which includes “freedom of thought, opinion, religion or belief”, and “freedom to practice and propagate and give expression to their thought, opinion, religion or belief, whether in public or in private and whether alone or together with others”.
The fact that you quoted and abused my personal tweet I posted on 22 January 2019 in memory of my father who was brutally murdered by the Fifth Brigade on 22 January 1983 to say you “don’t understand why you [me] continue to side with the party which brought such suffering to your [my] family, and which still brings so much suffering”; shows that you are either ignorant of sections 60 and 67 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, and proves that you are a fraud and a charlatan with no constitutional values.
Why do you want to police my freedom of conscience and my right to make my political choices freely?
Just why do you and your lot in CCC, think that you can interfere with my freedom of conscience and my right to my political choices that are guaranteed to me by the Constitution of Zimbabwe?
If you and your lot were genuine democratic change champions, as you claim and purport to be, you would be the first to understand and to propagate freedom of conscience and the right to make political choices freely as sacrosanct constitutional values and principles that must be respected for every Zimbabwean at all times.
But this has not been possible because you are frauds and charlatans.
Now, your attitude towards me, the one captured in the disgusting tweet you posted yesterday, leads me to conclude without any fear of being contradicted that you are a frivolous and stupid person, David.
Otherwise, if you care to know, there are three months that are cruel to me.
October in which I lost my daughter Zanele in 2015, November because of what happened to me, my family and some colleagues during the 2017 military coup – it was also on 11 November 1965 that Rhodesia under which you blossomed, unilaterally declared independence – and 22 January the dark day on which my father was murdered.
These are traumatic days for me in the calendar year.
You see, I was a student in California in the US when my father was murdered by the Fifth Brigade in cold blood on 22 January 1983, having gone to the US before independence in 1977.
When this awful tragedy happened, I did not know who my father was. I was born when my mother was barely 16 years old, and I was raised by my maternal grandparents who, like my mother, did not want me to know who my father was for reasons best known to them. Although, as I grew up, I understood their position from our cultural perspective as Africans, it nevertheless profoundly pained me.
Truth be told, I was most grateful and I still am to this day, that my grandfather was a great father and my grandmother a great mother to me in ways that made me who I am today.
I got to know who my father was well after I had graduated with my doctorate in 1988 and long after his gruesome murder, about which I was first told only 10 years ago. Since then, while it’s been a profound rebirth for me to connect with my father through the loving Mlevu clan at large, I owe my dear sister Simiso an existential debt of gratitude. Through her, my kids have a hand-holder gateway through which to know about their grandfather.
I really thank God and the spirit of the Mlevu clan for Simiso.
The fact that I was born on 12 January, and that my father was brutally murdered on 22 January, makes the month of January an unbearable time of anguish for me, more so given that my father and I never met in life.
When four years ago on 22 January 2019 I posted the tweet that you abused yesterday with reckless abandon, as you exposed your disconnection from the African experience, I was existentially troubled by the worst that could have happened to me and to my family on 15 November 2017, which got me thinking about what happened to my father, and even more troubling against the backdrop of the events of November 2017, I was devastated by the fact that I never met my father, and I spent the better part of 22 January 2019 wondering what life could have been for me had I known him in life and grown up under his parental care and guidance.
You see David, maybe this is not true of people of European ancestry like you but, for many Africans it is very common for kids to be raised by their grandparents, like I was.
As things turned out, I grew up knowing many such kids as my peers, the majority of whom never got to know who fathered them, some of whom are leading very successful lives in society as you read this. Unlike them, I was fortunate to end up knowing who my father was, but I was unfortunate not to have met him, and even more unfortunate to have known of him long after his death, made worse by the tragic circumstances of that death.
I do not have a fly by night connection with Zanu-PF.
When I finished my high school in California, I proceeded to university there for my undergraduate education on a scholarship I got through Zanu-PF. While an undergraduate, I was the political commissar of the Zanu-PF branch in Los Angeles.
I did my masters and doctoral degrees with academic scholarships endorsed by Zanu-PF and underwritten by the Government of Zimbabwe through a staff development programme at the University of Zimbabwe.
Having gone through Mgagao run by Zanu-PF, and having gotten university education to the highest level under the auspices of Zanu-PF, I have a long history and experience with Zanu-PF, and with Zanu-PF people whose complexities define who I am as an adult Zimbabwean, for better or for worse. It’s my history, I’m proud of it and I own it.
It’s an inescapable truth that each individual, and each therefore each person has a unique existential history best known to himself or herself, family and to a small cohort that has been intimate parts of that personal history.
It’s hopelessly foolish for someone to hope to prescribe a history on anyone. Every human being is who they are.
And it’s a fact not exclusive to me that my association with Zanu-PF has not always been rosy. Life is a personal struggle between the person or the individual and the social formations through which life goes on.
It’s common cause, that the military coup was a traumatic experience for me and my family and that it was profoundly painful and life changing in untold ways. It’s also common cause and not surprising to any normal human being that I blamed Zanu-PF for that traumatic experience. Anyone else in my situation would have done the same at point or another.
Yet the bigger story is that I, my family and my colleagues survived that 2017 ordeal with the very direct, active and truly genuine assistance and support from Zanu-PF people.
Working with other African Angeles, and I emphasize African Angeles, it was Zanu-PF people who made sure that we were able to be safe and to get out of the country to be where I am today, all of them at great risk to their lives or livelihoods.
In 2017 I was saved to be alive today by Zanu-PF people.
During the life threatening 2017 ordeal that my family and I went through, there was not even one person associated with the opposition as it was then, or as it is today, who reached out to find out where I was or how I was doing. It is common cause, some of it is documented, that many in the opposition then and who are still in opposition today, actually wanted me dead, all because of my political differences with them.
You David Coltart, who now wants to pretend that you “have always genuinely sympathised with me”, never inquired after me. That’s why I think you are a monumental fraud and a charlatan.
I repeat, I was helped out of the traumatic ordeal in 2017 by Zanu-PF people, not by anyone from your lot David, not even one.
Of course, at some point and largely because of the 2018 general election I found myself connected with some of your lot, especially Nelson Chamisa and others who were close to him or working with him i the election campaign, as the MDC-A presidential election candidate. I will not rehash that story here, as it has been told very well by many others.
From my experience, and the lessons I have extrapolated from the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo, such as on the attached video clip, I have come to better appreciate that it is a mistake and wrong to a understand and define a political party with a deep-seated background and history like Zanu-PF in terms of its leadership; rather, a grounded political party with a long history is necessarily defined by its founding values, constitution and membership, not least because the membership is permanent while the leadership comes and goes.
By the same token, I have come to better appreciate that the mistakes or excesses of the leadership of grounded political parties with an entrenched history should not automatically or reflexively be ascribed or attributed to or blamed on the membership.
On 15 November 2022, Patrick Zhuwao and I wrote an open letter to Zanu-PF members to precisely make this point. I am attaching herewith a link to that letter, lest you missed it.
It’s a self-explanatory letter which contextualises and explains everything that I did and said between 15 November 2017 and 14 November 2022. It also explains why do not support Nelson Chamisa and your CCC. I stand by the contents of that letter.
In this connection, I draw your attention and that of your lot to an interview done by the late VP Joshua Nkomo in 1983 – which is attached herewith as already mentioned – in which Nkomo explains why the Fifth Brigade was not a Shona issue.
Although Nkomo made it clear that gukurahundi was a political and not a tribal issue, I have come to understand and appreciate that it was a political issue not in the sense of Zanu-PF as a political party in membership terms but, rather, in the sense of the political leadership and, more particularly, of individuals within that leadership.
However, given your utter contempt for sections 60 and 67 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, I do not expect you to understand the dangers of painting a tribe or a political party with one brush, or to understand the misguided consequences of conflating the leadership of a political party with the party’s membership or even of treating the leadership of a political party as a monolithic formation that always acts in concert.
Basically David, and just like Nelson Chamisa’s trolls, it’s clear you believe that you can abuse my personal and tragic circumstances to blackmail me for your doomed political purposes in two ways.
First, you think you can abuse the circumstances of my father’s brutal death to somehow generate cheap and outrageous propaganda for yourself, Nelson Chamisa and CCC that I support Zanu-PF which killed my father, and you do this under your self-indulgent presumption that everyone who is in Zanu-PF as a political party is murderous by definition.
Second, and based on this falsification, you’re abusing my tragic personal circumstances regarding my father’s loss to blackmail me into supporting you in particular, given my attack on your imposition as CCC’s Ward 4 councillor candidate in Bulawayo; Nelson Chamisa and CCC . Your outrageous position is that if I cannot support you, I must keep quiet about you, under the ridiculous presumption that you’re all by definition virtuous, competent, capable, the only and best democratic alternative for everyone in Zimbabwe.
On the back of sections 60 and 67 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and drawing from my knowledge, thoughts, experiences and received wisdom from the late VP Joshua Nkomo, I have dealt with your self-indulgent presumption that Zanu-PF is a monolithic formation with undifferentiated leadership and membership structures, in which you take everyone in it to be murderous by definition.
In light of the fact that you invited this intervention by your disgusting and intrusive tweet you posted yesterday, and because we are age mates, I conclude my rejoinder to your offensive tweet by telling you what I think about you, about Nelson Chamisa and about CCC.
David, as a former member of the Rhodesian security services which were murderous and which committed unspeakable atrocities across Zimbabwe and beyond its borders into Zambia and Mozambique, you have no moral authority to pontificate about human rights or anything of the sort.
You David Coltart operated in Matabeleland where you did dastardly things, some of which you narrate in your autobiography and many of which you will take to your grave untold, because you never faced a commission of inquiry to be grilled under oath about your service in the Rhodesian security services.
The fact that a person like you has remained active in Zimbabwean public affairs for 43 years since independence is a huge credit to our national politics because, with your background in the Rhodesian security services, you would not have survived this long in public life elsewhere.
It’s mind boggling that Chamisa has imposed you to run for Ward 4 councillor in Bulawayo, after you were resoundingly defeated in your party’s Ward 4 community candidate selection caucus in which you were clobbered and you came a distant last among the contestants.
Thanks to your being power hungry, you have made it possible for everyone to see that you’re a fake democrat and a charlatan who believes in the imposition of candidates. Your criticism of what you say is Zanu-PF’s undemocratic practices is hollow and hypocritical.
Furthermore, it’s shocking is that Chamisa is bent on imposing you from Harare as Bulawayo mayor.
You don’t qualify for that position not least because you do not speak the language of the local community in Bulawayo despite having been born there 66 years ago.
Unlike Members of Parliament or Senators, whose chambers conduct their business mainly in English, Councillors and Mayors work in the local languages of their local communities.
For the above reasons, and as an expression of my freedom of conscience and my right to make my political choices freely, I do not and cannot support you at all David.
As for Chamisa, having worked closely with him between 2018 and 2021, I came to the settled conclusion in November 2021 that he is a dictator with a very dangerous God complex, in that he sees himself as having been chosen by God to lead Zimbabwe, and more ominously, he claims to have direct communication with God who has the last word on what he should do or say in public.
In politics, that’s an unworkable Jim Jones proposition.
Because of his God complex, Chamisa is visible only when there are elections as he was in the 2018 harmonised general election, March 2022 by-elections and now for the 23 August harmonised general election.
After he ditched his supporters in August 2018 when he called them “ma stupids” [stupid people], in January 2019 and in July 2020, his unavailability to provide leadership when his supporters needed it triggered a viral political joke that: ‘in Zimbabwe there are three things that are unavailable when you need them the most, the UN, a condom and Nelson Chamisa’.
But even more telling about Chamisa is the shocking way in which he has used CCC since its formation in January 2022, and particularly in the party’s candidate selection for the forthcoming elections, to ruthlessly purge the opposition. It’s been scary and it explains why the opposition in Zimbabwe today is the most clueless and the weakest since independence in 1980. How can a democratic change champion insist on running a political party with no constitution, no structures, no bank account and no accountability?
I cannot support a leader like that.
There’s nothing more dangerous in politics than, a young ‘popular’ dictator with a God complex. My conscience and freedom to political choices freely do not allow me to support a leader like that.
As for CCC, it has no ideology, no values, no constitution, no structures, no bank account, no policies and no other visible office bearers besides Chamisa, Gift Siziva, Fadzayi Mahere and Amos Chibaya; and it has not been launched to boot.
There’s just no way anywhere on earth that a political formation like that can be supported by rational people with rational expectations.
That’s why I cannot side with you David or with Chamisa or with CCC. You’re not “the alternative”, you’re just a worse and more dangerous alternative which can only be supported by polticidal people who do not mind moving from the frying pan into the fire!
31 July 2023