The late former president of Tanzania, Julius Nyerere reportedly told President Robert Mugabe when Zimbabwe attained independence in 1980; "You have inhented the jewel of Africa. Keep it that way "
How ominous the words sound today when one looks back in retrospect.
The socio-economic and political crises that have blighted the country since the turn of the century have deeply transformed it from the ideals of a vibrant freshly independent na-tion just two decades earlier.
These transformations have led to relentless calls for the restructuring of Zimbabwean society, polity and economy.
Most of these efforts have remained within the academic realm with little or no attempts at coming up with clear policy implications.
Beyond the Crisis: Zimbabwe's Prospects for Transformation is an invaluable addition to existing academic and policy literature with much broader and all-embracing focus in terms of policy interventions and different aspects of social and economic justice.
The book goes beyond initiating debate on social and economic justice but suggests possible future directions of practical solutions and policy development for the realisation of inclusive social and economic justice for Zimbabweans. The editors' conception of social and economic justice is summed up in their definition; an "inclusive, equitable, dignified, non-discriminatory and democratic access to the means of production and other public goods such as health and education".
They note that the elites have used political power to amass wealth for themselves and their cronies at the expense of the rest of the citizenry.
Attempts to wrestle power from these State actors by different groups, including war veterans and civil society as well as the common people, have been met with heavy-handedness, further disenfranchising the majority.
Murisa and Chikweche try to bring together articles that explore these power dynamics in the socio-econo-political history of Zimbabwe.
Besides Murisa and Chikweche, contributors to this must-read manual include researcher Chipo Plaxedes Mubaya, agricultural economist Kingstone Mujeyi, ecologist Mzime Ndebele-Murisa, social researcher-cum-environmentalist Mukundi Mutasa, gender, land and agrarian re-form advocate Patience Mutopo and Munyaradzi Aubrey Nyaguse who is involved in social development and innovation management.
This wide array of skill has, however, not been prescriptive in terms recommending a framework for social, political and economic transformation agenda.
A collaboration of TrustAfrica, Wallace Global Fund, Schooner Foundation, and International Development Exchange, Zimbabwe Alliance works to strengthen civil society and promote human rights and democracy in Zimbabwe.
For the past three years, the Alliance has supported local initiatives through grants, capacity-building, technical assistance and mobilisation of international solidarity.
This is an article on the book launch in Zimbabwe's Daily News.