David  Coltart

David Coltart

Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture; MDC-M secretary for legal affairs

Date of Birth: 04/10/1957
Place of Birth: Gweru

Career: South African Police, 1975-78; University of Cape Town, 1978-82; Lawyer, Webb, Low and Barry, 1983; Partner, Webb, Low and Barry, 1984; Founder and Director, Bulawayo Legal Projects Centre regarding Human Rights Training for members of the Police Force and the Central Intelligence Organisation, 1988; Member Electoral observer team to the 1992 Kenyan elections, 1992; Secretary of Legal Affairs, MDC, 2000 to date; Election Agent, Morgan Tsvangirai, 2002; Shadow Justice Minister, 2006; Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture, 2009 to date

Commentary: Coltart rose to fame in the 1980s when he defended senior Zimbabwe African People’s Union politicians such as Sidney Malunga, Edward Ndlovu and Stephen Nkomo, brother of ZAPU leader Joshua Nkomo, when they were being harassed by President Robert Mugabe’s government on allegations that they were trying to topple his government. He was also instrumental in compiling data on the atrocities in Matabeleland committed by 5 Brigade and the Central Intelligence Organisation in what is now known as Gukurahundi, culminating almost a decade later in a report, which he edited: Breaking the Silence. He joined the Movement for Democratic Change at its formation and despite a smear campaign by the ruling ZANU-PF that he has been a member of the Rhodesian police, Coltart went on to beat former cabinet minister Callistus Ndlovu to win the Bulawayo South seat in the 2000 parliamentary elections. He repeated the same feat five years later when he beat Small and Medium Enterprises Minister Sithembiso Nyoni. He was caught at the crossroads when the party split in 2005 and sat on the fence for some time tying to get the two parties to reconcile but when they failed to he joined the Mutambara faction. He demonstrated his popularity when he became one of the few Mutambara faction candidates to win a seat in the 2008 elections. This earned him the powerful post of Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture. The ministry takes the biggest chunk of the national budget coming only second to defence. Coltart therefore controls more than half the civil service. Though he plays a low profile, he is probably the most powerful figure in the MDC-Mutambara faction because he is the only popularly elected leader in the current executive. His colleagues in government: party leader Arthur Mutambara, his deputy Gibson Sibanda, secretary-general Welshman Ncube and deputy secretary Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga were all beaten at the 2008 polls. Though his party has fewer than 20 seats in both the lower and upper houses, Coltart could survive in government longer than the Global Political Agreement because of the way he has handled the teacher’s strikes and brought back education onto the rails.

Displaying 1-10 out of 17 results.

Vol 54 N0 18


The waiting game begins

The Educational Transition Fund, which enabled one of the stars of the Government of National Unity, the MDC’s David Coltart, to stabilise a collapsing education system, may now be vulnerable...

Vol 54 N0 17


Inside ZANU-PF's electoral coup

Successful ministers did well – Biti was able to evade a rigged poll while David Coltart at Education was only 20 votes short of becoming MDC-Ncube's sole member of parliament, against the trend in Bulawayo East...

Vol 54 N0 6


Vote now, pay later

Education Minister David Coltart has requested that school teachers be used only as a last resort...

Vol 53 N0 23


ZANU-PF’s gem of a campaign

Education Minister David Coltart, from Welshman Ncube’s MDC faction, echoed that sentiment, pointing out that his Ministry’s budget was a mere $8 mn...

Vol 53 N0 1


A race against time

Yet MDC ministries have made progress: when Education Minister David Coltart took over in 2009, some 90% of the 7,000 state schools were closed due to lack of books and equipment...

Vol 51 N0 6


Reluctantly to the election

Since then, it has expelled three of the initial ten members of parliament and not one of those remaining holds office; only Senator David Coltart, the Education Minister, has a popular mandate...

Vol 51 N0 1


Three men in a boat

Arthur Mutambara’s most important ally is still Welshman Ncube, MDC-M Secretary General and Industry Minister; Mutambara’s deputy, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, remains important as does David Coltart, who runs the biggest ministry – Education, Sports and Culture...

Vol 50 N0 7


Sanctions and finance

Popular anger is stirring, particularly over government ‘perks’, such as new Mercedes-Benz cars; the Movement for Democratic Change’s David Coltart is the only minister to refuse his car...

Vol 50 N0 4


A mixture, not a coalition

Senator David Coltart of MDC-M, at Education, is the only white full minister...

He gave Education, the most sensitive ministry, to human rights lawyer David Coltart...

Vol 49 N0 19


A three-legged race

The MDC-M Secretary for Legal Affairs, David Coltart, says there is video evidence that MDC-T members had to show their party Vice-President, Thoko Khupe, for whom they had voted...

Displaying 1-10 out of 17 results.