Interrogating our follies: short-term-ism in the Zimbabwean psyche

Taruvinga Magwiroto One of the ever-lasting pressures of political office has always been about limitations of time-scales of influence. You can only influence policy while you are in power, hence the obsession with “low-hanging” fruits and “quick wins”. Also the election cycle is short (+-5 years); hence there’s pressure to show some tangible results in the time that one is in power.    It’s no … Continue reading Interrogating our follies: short-term-ism in the Zimbabwean psyche

Tick-borne diseases: symptoms of deeper issues.

Taruvinga Magwiroto Recent reports of the on-going outbreak of the tick borne disease Theileriosis (also known as January Disease) in Zimbabwe has laid bare some of the problems and issues facing post land reform Zimbabwe. Theileriosis is more than a problem for livestock farmers. It is symptomatic of failures of social safety nets, institutional failures and the spectre of climate change. Because Zimbabwe is located … Continue reading Tick-borne diseases: symptoms of deeper issues.

Command Agriculture in Zimbabwe: can it be transformed?

Taruvinga Magwiroto “Command Agriculture” is a curious name to a government initiative meant to finance farmers and boost food productivity in the country. The first thing in the overhaul of the model is to change the name. But for the record, the “martial-sounding” name comes from the fact that when it was incepted, it was coordinated by the army. In fact the programme was jointly … Continue reading Command Agriculture in Zimbabwe: can it be transformed?

Neighbour’s Voices: re-considering the role of the neighbour in Africa

Taruvinga Magwiroto In Africa, being regional neighbours is a little bit like family. The mere fact of geographical proximity makes the history similar, the struggles analogous and the future somehow conjoined. It also makes your fortunes somewhat intertwined, such that “neighbourhood” has much more meaning than we think. The other day on Twitter, an influential South African journalist surmised how hard it must be for … Continue reading Neighbour’s Voices: re-considering the role of the neighbour in Africa

Africa and the evolution of Big Ideas

Taruvinga Magwiroto At some point in the history of man, there have come along some great ideas and theories with powerful explanatory capabilities. Ideas like capitalism; democracy; Marxism and its variants; modernisation; theory of evolution…the list goes on. Ideas are important because they provide the edifice upon which the practical world works.  One obvious thing that these ideas have is that they originated from the … Continue reading Africa and the evolution of Big Ideas

Mugabe, in Jacob Zuma’s words.

Taruvinga Magwiroto Well, I will describe him as one of our heroes who has been in the struggle from a young age…I don’t think he knew any other thing except the struggle Jacob Zuma on Robert Mugabe on SABC. As a writer, I consider myself to be a special witness. This, I believe, gives me the right to tell stories, particularly the African story. So … Continue reading Mugabe, in Jacob Zuma’s words.

South Africa and the Burning Boy: crises and the quest for good governance

Taruvinga Magwiroto Watching the agonising and soul-wrenching spectacle of a young man being burnt alive in South Africa, to the atavistic howls of a patently blood thirsty crowd got me seriously thinking. Not about the horrors that young man must have felt as the life was cruelly squeezed out of his burning lungs. Not the literal “up in flames” of dreams of the good life … Continue reading South Africa and the Burning Boy: crises and the quest for good governance

Zimbabwe: Making sense of the issues and staking the future Part 1.

Taruvinga Magwiroto One of the attractive-sounding ideas that I have is that “to dream the future look at what worked in the past”. But looking at what worked in the past will not suffice if we don’t ask a crucial additional question: why? So the full question becomes: “what worked in the past and why?” This is particularly important in the Zimbabwean case because what … Continue reading Zimbabwe: Making sense of the issues and staking the future Part 1.

A False Start: The Agric Education Years

Taruvinga Magwiroto Whether it was fate unfolding, or just sheer bad luck, it’s up to you to decide. So at the end of 2005, after the Binga bunga bunga, the Msambakaruma incidences and Magunje escapades, I was ready to call time to my days in the field. I was joining the Agricultural Education Department as a lecturer, excited to become a proper “Sir!”  I had … Continue reading A False Start: The Agric Education Years