David Coltart
David Coltart
BornDavid Coltart
(1957-10-04)October 4, 1957
EducationUniversity of Capetown
Alma materUniversity of Capetown
  • Politician
  • Lawyer
Political partyMDC
Spouse(s)Jennifer Reine
ChildrenJessica, Douglas, Scott and Bethany

David Coltart is a Zimbabwean lawyer and politician. He is the current Treasurer General for the Movement for Democratic Change. Coltart is the former Zimbabwean Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture, a position he held in Zimbabwe's Government of National Unity between from 2009 to 2013.

He was part of the Welshman Ncube MDC following a split of the party in 2005. Ncube's MDC rejoined MDC-T as part of the MDC Alliance in 2017 and so Coltart returned as well.

In January of 2018 Senator Coltart issued an apology for his role as a member of the British South African Police in sustaining the colonial regime in the era of white minority rule in Zimbabwe.[1]. In his apology, he also refuted the popular claim that he was part of the Rhodesian special forces the Selous Scouts


David Coltart was born in Gweru on 4 October 1957 and the family relocated to Bulawayo. He went to Hillside Primary School and then Christian Brothers College for high school. He was conscripted into the British South African Police Force stationed in Mashonaland, Matabeleland South, and Masvingo Provinces. David graduated with a law degree at the university of Capetown in 1980 as well as his LLB post graduate law degree in 1982. He married Jennifer Reine Barrett in 1983 and have four children namely Jessica, Douglas, Scott and Bethany.[2]

Political career

David's political life began whilst at the University of Capetown (UCT) when he became involved in politics and was elected as chairman of the Zimbabwe student society. The society represented the interests of thousands of Zimbabwean students studying at the university. He was also elected to serve on the law student council and was the director of the Crossroads Legal Aid Clinic which provided services to poor South Africans this was from 1980-82. Then in 1983, he was employed by a Law firm Webb, Low and Barry and was made partner 1984. Coltart began compiling data on the Gukurahundi atrocities. He was requested by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace to record affidavits from people who had suffered at the hands of the 5th Brigade.

In April 1983 he was appointed the secretary of the Bulawayo Legal Practitioners Association and in this capacity, Coltart started the first legal aid clinic in Bulawayo. In 1999 he was appointed to sit on the legal committee of the National Constitutional Assembly of Zimbabwe(NCA), was also appointed the chairperson of the interim legal committee of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). David Coltart also got elected secretary for legal affairs of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) at its inaugural congress in 2000, in the same year was elected member of parliament for Bulawayo South Constituency. He was a member of the observer team in 1992 when Kenya had elections.

In August 2003, he was one of the members of an MDC delegation to visit Kenya and study the Kenyan electoral system which culminated in proposals being made for wide-ranging reform of Zimbabwe’s electoral practices and laws. In October 2003, David Coltart attended a private meeting with President Nelson Mandela and Advocate George Bizos to brief President Mandela on the Zimbabwe Presidential Election court challenge. Then in October/November 2004, as MDC Secretary for Legal Affairs and Shadow Justice Minister, Coltart introduced and led an argument in Parliament about the MDC’s extensive proposed amendments to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Bill and the Electoral Bill. Coltart was elected member of Parliament for Bulawayo South Constituency in March 2005.

August 2006 he was elected as Secretary for Legal Affairs and member of the Strategic Planning Committee of the MDC (Mutambara faction). He was appointed Chairperson of MDC (M) advisory committee on Constitutional reform for the SADC mediation exercise. In March 2008, Coltart elected to be the Senate on behalf of the MDC in the Khumalo Senatorial Constituency of Bulawayo in the 29th March 2009 general election. He delivered a speech focusing on crimes against humanity being committed in Zimbabwe at the Policy Exchange in London and held several meetings regarding the human rights situation in Zimbabwe, London, and New York in May 2008. In February 2009 he was appointed Minister of Education, Sports, Arts and Culture in the transitional inclusive government brought about by the Global Political Agreement entered into by MDC (T), MDC and ZANU (PF) in September 2008.


David Coltart brought a teachers' strike to an end when he negotiated with the Teachers' Unions. About 90 000 teachers had gone on strike causing a closure of 8 000 country schools. He granted amnesty allowing for teachers who had left to come back to work. Appointed joint chairperson of the Constitution Committee, a body established under the Global Political Agreement and charged with drafting a new Constitution in May 2009.[3]


David Coltart Book, The Struggle Continues: 50 Years of Tyranny in Zimbabwe

In February 2016, Coltart published a book titled "The Struggle Continues: 50 Years of Tyranny in Zimbabwe". The book is a narrative of Zimbabwe's history from Coltart's personal perspective.

Criticism by Jonathan Moyo

Coltart has been the constant subject of criticism by Zanu-PF politician, Jonathan Moyo who has accused him of having been a former Selous Scout. [4] Selous Scouts were a branch within of the Rhodesian Security Forces which is know to have committed various atrocities against innocent Rhodesian African civilians in Rhodesia and the neighbouring countries.[5]

On 18 April 2015, at Zimbabwe's Independence day, Moyo accused Coltart of having no shame when Coltart tweeted an article that described Zimbabwe’s independence as “Bleak freedom”. Moyo in various tweets responding to the Coltart:

We can count on you to be negative even on this special Zimbabwean day Zim@35. Don’t you have any shame? His negativity on this day is unwelcome & even insulting given his history as a Selous Scout It’s not a lie but a fact that you served in the Rhodesian Forces! You only found human rights in Zim. BSAP & Selous Scouts were evil creatures of one evil Rhodesian force. You dwell with the past of others as if you’ve no past![6]

Coltart said that while he was in the Rhodesian Security Forces, he wasn't part of the Selous Scouts.[4]

Apology for Rhodesian Atrocities

Coltart apologized for the atrocities carried out by the Rhodesian regime and set the record straight concerning a number of areas such as allegations that he killed black Zimbabweans and that he was a Selous Scouts.[7].Coltart denied the widely believed assumption that he was a member of the Selous Scouts.


Coltart's son Douglas Coltart is a political activist who has been active especially starting 2016 when the #ThisFlag and Tajamuka movements gained traction.


  1. [1], How Zimbabweans Have Reacted To David Coltart’s Apology For Rhodesian Atrocities , Published: 27 January 2018 , Retrieved: 28 January 2018
  2. , David Coltart Africa Confidential, Retrieved: June 30, 2014
  3. Taking Zimbabwe Forward Together David Coltart, Retrieved: June 30, 2014
  4. 4.0 4.1 Coltart slams Moyo over Selous Scouts 'slur', New Zimbabwe, Published:24 Nov 2012, Retrieved: 30 Nov 2016
  5. Fay Chung, Re-living the Second Chimurenga, Memories from the Liberation Struggle in Zimbabwe. Page: 141, Weaver Press, 2006. ISBN 91-710655-1-2.
  6. tinomuda chakanyuka, Prof Moyo blasts Coltart, , Published:19 April 2016, Retrieved: 30 Nov 2016
  7. [2], How Zimbabweans Have Reacted To David Coltart’s Apology For Rhodesian Atrocities, Published: 27 January 2018, Retrieved: 28 January 2018