Zanu-PF yesterday urged former MDC Bulawayo South National Assembly member Mr David Coltart to provide police and State security with full details on opposition MDC-T’s banditry activities that were targeted at toppling the legitimate Government of President Mugabe in 2006.
The revolutionary party’s comments were triggered by Mr Coltart revelations in his book released recently that opposition leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai in 2006 trained bandits in South Africa in preparation for a violent takeover of power in Zimbabwe.
In an interview, Zanu-PF national spokesperson Cde Simon Khaya Moyo said the matter was not a party issue, but security issue.
“Obviously, the security authorities would want that information,” said Cde Khaya Moyo adding that the security would want to know more about Mr Coltart’s revelations.
“I am not aware of this. Coltart knows better because he was a member of the MDC and a former Rhodesian military man.”
MDC-T spokesman Mr Obert Gutu said he was yet to read the book by Mr Coltart before commenting on the matter.
“I am yet to read his book,” said Mr Gutu.
“As a lawyer and researcher myself, it will be inappropriate for me to comment on his book before I have had an opportunity to read it.” Mr Gutu, however, said MDC-T was not a bandit organisation.
“It is a lawful democratic political party that believes in non-violent and constitutional takeover of state power. We remain the largest and most popular political party in Zimbabwe,” he said.
Police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba refused to comment yesterday.
In his memoirs, “The Struggle Continues: 50 Years of Tyranny in Zimbabwe”, Mr Coltart — a founding secretary for legal affairs in the MDC — revealed how the split in the original party came about because of Mr Tsvangirai’s knack for violence.
According to Mr Coltart, Mr Tsvangirai not only engaged in intra-party violence where he used “agents provocateurs” such as one Tonderai Ndira, but sought to escalate violence into a nationwide confrontation with the ruling Zanu-PF.
He said at party level, Mr Tsvangirai had become paranoid as he thought that there were efforts to muscle him out of leadership, especially when the party had proposed during constitutional amendments presented to Parliament that a national president needed to have at least a university degree.
Mr Coltart said Mr Tsvangirai also felt that the only way he could wrestle power from Zanu-PF was through violence.
It was on this basis that Mr Tsvangirai refused to participate in the re-introduced senatorial elections, causing the split in October 2005.
Mr Coltart said the use of violence, which was meted against officials such as Peter Guhu and Trudy Stevenson resulted in the split of the party.
But, it was the training of bandits that shocked Mr Coltart and which led him to cut ties with Mr Tsvangirai and opted to join the other faction that was then being led by Arthur Mutambara.
The training camp for MDC operatives in South Africa, he said, was being conducted “by ex-South African policemen under the supervision of an ex-Rhodesian soldier”.
“There was confusion as to whether the training was ‘offensive’ or ‘defensive’, but weapons were clearly involved,” said Mr Coltart.
“The South African National Defence Force had been bribed to allow these trained men back across the border,” he said.
Mr Coltart says he had learnt about the development from two journalists who had filmed the training operation. He concluded that the operation “appeared to be chronically amateurish” and would also play into the hands of the ruling party.