JONATHAN Moyo bristled with anger on Twitter Monday after former education minister and opposition politician David Coltart suggested that, by not resigning from Zanu PF in protest during Gukurahundi, he was complicit in the atrocities.
“You’re a plain Rhodie idiot,” charged Moyo in response.
Told by a follower that ‘idiot’ was too strong a word “especially from people calling themselves educated”, Moyo was unwavering.
He continued: “I repeat, you’re a plain Rhodie idiot. How dare you say I’m responsible for Gukurahundi you bloody Selous Scout?!”
Moyo states in his CV that his father was one of the victims when President Robert Mugabe, as prime minister in the 1980s, ordered a vicious army unit especially trained for the purpose by North Korea into the Matebeleland and Midlands regions supposedly to hunt down dissidents.
Rights groups say 20,000 civilians, mostly Ndebeles, were killed in the campaign which forced Joshua Nkomo to flee to London through Botswana saying Mugabe had dispatched soldiers to assassinate him, adding they had also killed his chauffeur and ransacked his home.
Mugabe – through the 35 years he has ruled the country – has refused to apologise for the mass killings, or even address the concerns of still-bitter survivors let alone bring to justice those responsible who include some of his top aides.
Current vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa was in charge of state security at the time while air force boss Perrence Shiri headed the notorious Fifth Brigade which Nkomo described as a political army.
Not quite getting along? … Emmerson Mnangagwa with Jonathan Moyo
A Mnangagwa ally recently told NewZimbabwe.com that they suspected Gukurahundi was at the heart of Moyo’s fallout with the vice president and apparent determination to ensure he does not take over from Mugabe.
“There is clearly a fall-out. We are not sure why, perhaps Moyo is reviving his anger at Mnangagwa over the death of his father,” said the Zanu PF official.
When Mnangagwa torched a storm in 2011 by declaring that Gukurahundi was a “closed chapter”, Moyo was one of the senior politicians who criticised the remarks, describing them as “irresponsible and unacceptable”.
He then challenged Zanu PF to “publicly engage the issue in an open, honest and non-defensive way, which has characterised our attitude thus far”.
Again, when current co-vice president Phekezela Mphoko astonished many by claiming that Gukurahundi was a Western conspiracy adding Mugabe was not responsible for the killings, Moyo accused the VP of revisionism and questioned the “intended meaning and purpose” of Mphoko’s remarks.
What remains lingering about the atrocities, Moyo added, are not the “Gukurahundi causes but the Gukurahundi consequences”.
Meanwhile, explaining his row with Moyo, Coltart said on Facebook: “I have had an interesting twitter exchange with Jonathan Moyo this morning.
“It started when someone asked whether we agreed on anything. I responded by saying that we agreed on a lot prior to him “joining Zanu PF in 1999”.
“Moyo responded by agreeing with another 3rd party tweet that he in fact joined Zanu PF in 1976 when he was its representative in California.
“I responded saying – ‘fair enough’ and then questioned whether if that was so, whether he shared responsibility for Gukurahundi and suggested that he perhaps ‘re-joined Zanu PF in 1999’.
“Moyo went ballistic, angered by what he felt was my suggestion that he was complicit in Gukurahundi.
“I pointed out that I had not made that allegation but that if he was a loyal, card carrying member of Zanu PF during that time, and did not resign or speak out, then he would be complicit. It does raise the issue of our silence in the face of evil.”
Moyo however, said “If the vile logic of (Coltart) is right, then whites like him who served BSAP are racists who are responsible for all Rhodie atrocities!”
He continued: “(The) logical conclusion of (Coltart’s) idiocy on this matter is that Joshua Nkomo endorsed Gukurahundi by signing Unity Accord with Zanu PF!
“According to (Coltart’s logic) Morgan Tsvangirai must be responsible for Gukurahundi because he was a Zanu PF member during the dark period!”
Moyo accused Coltart of “seeking to gain from the Gukurahundi tragedy at the expense of victims still with open wounds!”
He added: “Only a Rhodie idiot would say it’s not vitriolic to say I’m responsible for Gukurahundi because I was Zanu PF!”